Ratings of children’s adjustment are coming increasingly to be seen as subjective and also, in many cases, as ephemeral (Rutter and Madge, 1976). But, however imperfect the measures and their interpretations, they represent a concern for an undeniable aspect of child development, namely, the child’s ability to cope with and relate to people and situations in the world around him or her. Particularly with respect to adopted children there seems to be a fascination with behaviour traits and problems on the part of researchers and other writers, which probably reflects an anxiety on the part of parents and others concerned with the children to know whether they are ‘turning out’ all right. There seems to be an uncertainty as to whether difficulties might have occurred in any case, or have somehow been brought about by the special nature of the adoptive process (Jacka, 1973). For many of these reasons there is also an interest in the behaviour of illegitimate children who have not been adopted. In the present study we shall be confining our attention to the teacher’s ratings of the child’s adjustment in school.
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