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ADOPTION EDUCATION, LLC


EFFECTS OF STRESS IN EARLY LIFE


INTRODUCTION

International adoptees encounter stress both prenatally and postnatally (see table below). Most are products of unwanted pregnancies. After birth, many suffer from abandonment, institutionalization, malnutrition, recurrent illnesses, environmental deprivation, and/or emotional neglect. Some are physically or sexually abused, or witness distressing events. These stressful experiences in early life may permanently alter brain physiology and lead to long-lasting physiological, psychological, and behavioral changes. Early stress may have life-long adverse effects on growth, development, health, behavior, learning, and memory. This section discusses how stress influences these areas, clinically and neurobiologically.


Table - Sources of stress for institutionalized children

Prenatal exposure to maternal depression
Abandonment
Environmental deprivation
Malnutrition
Recurrent illnesses
Removal from familiar peer groups and caregivers
Physical neglect
Emotional neglect
Physical abuse
Sexual abuse

 

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P.O. Box 2180
Milford, CT 06460
(203) 877-4007
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