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EFFECTS OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION


THE RISKS OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION
BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS

Behavior problems are common among institutionalized children. For example, of 300 children age 12-21 years living in orphanages in Bangalore, India, one-third had obvious behavior problems, and 10% of these required immediate psychiatric help. Problems were worse among those institutionalized before age 4 years. Similarly, Turkish boys living in orphanages had more mental symptoms than comparison children residing with their families. In Iraqi Kurdistan, behavior problems worsened over time among orphans living in institutional care, but decreased among orphans assigned to foster care. The institutionalized children also had a higher frequency of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of these behaviors can be considered "normal" responses to an abnormal environment.

Sensory processing problems are seen in some institutionalized children. Compared with family-raised peers, 73 children adopted from Romania showed greater problems in 5/6 sensory processing domains: touch, movement-avoids, movement-seeks, vision, and audition, and 4/5 behavioral domains: activity level, feeding, organization, and social-emotional. Eating problems, stereotypes, attachment disorders and indiscriminate friendliness are all more likely among post-institutionalized children.

 

From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.

 

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