Article

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 1063-1073

Scholastic Attainment Following Severe Early Institutional Deprivation: A Study of Children Adopted from Romania

  • Celia BeckettAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London Email author 
  • , Barbara MaughanAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Michael RutterAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Jenny CastleAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Emma ColvertAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Christine GroothuesAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Amanda HawkinsAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Jana KreppnerAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
  • , Thomas G. O’ConnorAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center
    • , Suzanne StevensAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College LondonDevelopmental Brain-Behaviour Unit, School of Psychology, University of Southampton
    • , Edmund J. S. Sonuga-BarkeAffiliated withMRC SGDP Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College LondonDevelopmental Brain-Behaviour Unit, School of Psychology, University of SouthamptonChild Study Center, New York University

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Abstract

The relationship between severe early institutional deprivation and scholastic attainment at age 11 in 127 children (68 girls and 59 boys) adopted from institutions in Romania was compared to the attainment of 49 children (17 girls and 32 boys) adopted within the UK from a non-institutional background. Overall, children adopted from Romania had significantly lower attainment scores than those adopted within the UK; the children within the Romanian sample who had spent 6 months or more in an institution had significantly lower attainment scores than those who had spent less than 6 months in an institution, but there was no additional risk of low attainment associated with longer institutional care after 6 months. The lower scholastic attainment in the children adopted from Romanian institutions, as compared with domestic adoptees, was mediated by IQ, and to a lesser degree, inattention/overactivity. When these factors were taken into account, only small between-group differences in attainment remained.

Keywords

Attainment Inattention/overactivity Deprivation Cognitive abilities