BEHAVIORAL AND MENTAL DISORDERS
ADOPTION AND BEHAVIOR
Do adopted children exhibit more behavioral problems than their non-adopted peers? Adoption itself is a risk factor for mental health disorders. Adoption undoubtedly influences the family's responses to the child. Unresolved issues related to infertility, adoption, or beliefs about the child's heritage may alter parental availability, affection, or involvement. The adoptive family may have psychological 'issues', and the adopted child may experience disruptions, stresses, and trauma in that environment.
Few studies account for variation in the child's age at adoption, the care received prior to adoption, the composition of the adoptive family, and how the adoption was handled in the family (kept secret, celebrated, etc.). The acceptance of the adoption and the adopted child by grandparents and other relatives also affects the family dynamics.
The experience of institutionalization also contributes to the likelihood of behavioral problems. Mismatch of temperament is more likely to occur in adoption, and this may contribute to mental health disorders.
From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.