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Dev Psychopathol. 2007 Winter;19(1):129-48.

Behavior problems in postinstitutionalized internationally adopted children.

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  • 1Institute of Child Development, 51 East River Road, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the rate and type of behavior problems associated with being reared in an institution prior to adoption were examined in 1,948, 4- through 18-year-old internationally adopted children, 899 of whom had experienced prolonged institutional care prior to adoption. The children's adoptions were decreed between 1990 and 1998 in Minnesota. Binomial logistic regression analyses revealed that early institutional rearing was associated with increased rates of attention and social problems, but not problems in either the internalizing or externalizing domains. Independent of institutional history, children who were adopted >or=24 months had higher rates of behavior problems across many CBCL scales, including internalizing and externalizing problems. In general, time in the adoptive home, which also reflected age at testing, was positively associated with rates of problem behavior. Thus, there was little evidence that the likelihood of behavior problems wane with time postadoption. Finally, children adopted from Russia/Eastern Europe appeared at greater risk of developing behavior problems in several domains compared to children adopted from other areas of the world.

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