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J Pediatr Psychol. 2010 Jun;35(5):462-72. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsp114. Epub 2009 Dec 10.

History of maltreatment and mental health problems in foster children: a review of the literature.

Author information

1
University Hospital Ulm, Department for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychotherapy, Steinhoevelstrasse 5, D-89075 Ulm, Germany. sylvia.oswald@uniklinik-ulm.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Foster children often experience compromising situations such as neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse before out-of-home placement. This article aims to give a literature review related to the development and mental health of foster children with special consideration of trauma history.

METHODS:

A computer-based literature search was conducted in the databases Medline, PsycINFO, PSYNDEXplus, and SCOPUS. We determined a time frame from 1998 to 2009.

RESULTS:

The literature search resulted in 32 articles reporting empirical data about development and mental health in foster children. Very high rates of exposure to maltreatment, developmental delays and mental disorders were found. A broad spectrum of externalizing as well as internalizing symptoms and a high prevalence of comorbid mental disorders were found.

CONCLUSIONS:

Foster children exhibit a broad pattern of developmental problems and psychopathology. The etiology of these disorders is discussed in the context of multiple risk factors, especially that of persistent maltreatment.

PMID:
20007747
DOI:
10.1093/jpepsy/jsp114
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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