Changes in Attachment Disorder symptoms in children internationally adopted and in residential care

Román, M., Palacios, J. and Minnis, H. (2021) Changes in Attachment Disorder symptoms in children internationally adopted and in residential care. Child Abuse and Neglect, (doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.105308) (PMID:34544592) (In Press)

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Background: A high incidence of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED) has been reported for children with experiences of trauma and other forms of adversity. Objective: The present study aims to explore symptoms of RAD and DSED in children in two protection alternatives (international adoption and residential care) after experiences of early adversity. Participants and setting: The participants were 146 children: 40 children adopted into Spanish families from Russia, 49 children in residential care in Spanish institutions (40.8% in long-term foster centers) and 57 community comparison children. Methods: The Relationship Problems Questionnaire was used to explore both RAD and DSED. All adoptive parents and institutional caregivers retrospectively reported the problems at time of placement (Wave 0), as well as the symptoms observed at the time of the study, with children aged 4–8 years old (Wave 1). At this stage, the assessment of the community comparison group was added. Results: Adopted and children in residential care presented high levels of RAD and DSED symptoms at placement. For adoptees, previous experiences of abuse and neglect were marginally associated with the initial presence of RAD symptoms and a significant recovery was observed after an average of three years in their families, with a certain level of longitudinal continuity between initial and later assessments. In children currently placed in long-term residential centers in Spain, DSED symptoms worsened from W0 to W1. Conclusions: Adoption appears to be an effective intervention that promotes recovery of RAD and DSED symptomatology after early adversity, whereas institutionalization causes negative effects.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness and the European Regional Development Fund [grant numbers SEJ2006-12216, PSI2010-19287, PSI2015-67757-R].
Status:In Press
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Minnis, Professor Helen
Authors: Román, M., Palacios, J., and Minnis, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Child Abuse and Neglect
ISSN (Online):1873-7757
Published Online:17 September 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Child Abuse and Neglect 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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