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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1995 May;36(4):597-615.

The adolescent outcomes of adoption: a 16-year longitudinal study.

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  • 1Christchurch School of Medicine, Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand.


The childhood history and adolescent adjustment of children placed in adoptive, biological two parent and single parent families were examined in a birth cohort of 1265 New Zealand children studied to the age of 16 years. This study suggested that children who entered adoptive families were advantaged throughout childhood in a number of areas including childhood experiences, standards of health care, family material conditions, family stability and mother/child interaction. However, the environmental advantages experienced by children who entered adoptive families were not directly reflected in the pattern of adolescent adjustment of this group. In particular, children placed in adoptive families had rates of externalising behaviours (including conduct disorders, juvenile offending and substance use behaviours) that were significantly higher than children reared in biological two parent families but somewhat lower than those of children who entered single parent families at birth.

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