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EFFECTS OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION


OUTCOME OF CHILDREN RAISED IN ORPHANAGES

Very few data exist on the long-term outcome of children raised in orphanages. Although some investigators believe that institutionalization in early childhood increases the likelihood of psychiatric impairments and joblessness as adults, this is not universally accepted, nor is the institutionalization always to blame. Deficits in language development, intellect, personality, and social skills among orphanage alumni are not necessarily caused by orphanage care. Furthermore, although adverse childhood experiences result in increased frequency of acute and chronic psychosocial disorders in adult life, only a minority of exposed children are affected, and it is clear that variation in the severity, pervasiveness, individual differences in susceptibility, and interactions with later life stressors are all important. Not surprisingly, institutional experience may affect later parenting style.

The outcome of children adopted from institutional care in other countries is at present unknown but is an area of active investigation. Although many children do well, some international adoptees have long-term cognitive, learning or psychosocial problems.

 

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

 

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