Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 592–611 | Cite as

Experiences of School Bullying Among Internationally Adopted Children: Results from the Finnish Adoption (FINADO) Study

  • Hanna RaaskaEmail author
  • Helena Lapinleimu
  • Jari Sinkkonen
  • Christina Salmivalli
  • Jaakko Matomäki
  • Sanna Mäkipää
  • Marko Elovainio
Original Article


This study investigated the prevalence of and factors associated with school bullying and victimization among Finnish international adoptees. The Olweus bully/victim questionnaire was sent to all 9–15-year-old children adopted in Finland between 1985 and 2007 through the mediating organizations officially approved by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The children were identified through official adoption organizations. The response rate in the target sample was 49.4%: the study sample consisted of 364 children (190 girls, 52.2%). The children’s background factors and symptoms of reactive attachment disorder (RAD) were evaluated using a FINADO questionnaire. Their learning difficulties and social and language skills were assessed using a standardized parental questionnaire (Five to Fifteen). Of the participants, 19.8% reported victimization by peers while 8% had bullied others. Both victimization and bullying were associated with severe symptoms of RAD at the time of adoption (RR 2.68, 95%CI 1.50–4.77 and RR 2.08, 95%CI 1.17–3.69 for victimization and bullying, respectively). Lack of social skills was associated with victimization (RR 1.74, 95%CI 1.06–2.85) but not independently with being a bully (RR 1.50, 95%CI 0.91–2.45). In a multivariate analysis the child’s learning difficulties and language difficulties were not associated with either bullying others or victimization.


International adoption Bullying RAD FINADO study 



The authors thank the children and families who participated in this study. We are grateful to the Finnish adoption organisations Save the Children and Interpedia, as well as the City of Helsinki for making this research possible. This study was funded by Finland’s Slot Machine Association, Tiukula-foundation, The Foundation for Paediatric Research, Finland, an EVO Grant from Turku University Hospital, the Finnish Brain Foundation, the Arvo and Lea Ylppö Foundation and the Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanna Raaska
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Helena Lapinleimu
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jari Sinkkonen
    • 2
    • 5
  • Christina Salmivalli
    • 6
  • Jaakko Matomäki
    • 3
  • Sanna Mäkipää
    • 7
  • Marko Elovainio
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Child PsychiatryHelsinki University Central HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Child PsychiatryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Department of PaediatricsTurku University Central HospitalTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Department of Paediatrics and MedicineUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  5. 5.Save the Children AssociationHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  7. 7.University of TampereTampereFinland
  8. 8.National Institute of Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland
  9. 9.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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