European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 199–206 | Cite as

Adaptation of adopted foreign children at mid-adolescence as indicated by aspects of health and risk taking — a population study

  • K. Berg-Kelly
  • J. Eriksson
Original Contribution


Purpose: There is very little data available on adaptation at adolescence after “visible adoptions” (children adopted from abroad), in terms of mental health, risk-taking and problem behaviour in comparison with nonadopted adolescents. This study describes such an outcome. Material and Method: Data derived from self-reports from 125 adolescents aged 13–18 years who identified themselves as adopted, and who participated in two epidemiological surveys of 9329 adolescents. Their number was representative for children adopted from abroad. The other adolescents served as controls. Results: Family life styles showed no differences between groups. Health was similar to that of the controls. Foreign adopted adolescents significantly often evaluated themselves as shorter and with early puberty. The proportion of adopted girls with suicidal thoughts was significantly larger, they also reported school truancy, not using safety belts, sexual intercourse, unpleasant sexual encounters, and contact with illicit drugs more often than the controls. The stress of early puberty could only partly explain this. Conclusions: Girls adopted from abroad, representing “visible adoptions”, need additional attention and study during adolescence to expose causes for maladaption among some of them.

Key words

Adolescence adoption puberty risk-taking sexuality 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Berg-Kelly
    • 1
  • J. Eriksson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsEast HospitalGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Ambulatory UnitSala HospitalSalaSweden

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