Study Title: Parent-Reported Executive Functioning in Postinstitutionalized Children: A Follow-Up Study
Authors: Emily Merz, Robert McCall, Victor Groza
Abstract: This study compared parent-rated executive functioning (EF) in 6- to 18-year-old children adopted from psychosocially depriving institutions to that in children adopted from severely or “globally” depriving institutions. Individual continuity in EF over 2 years was examined in children adopted from psychosocially depriving institutions. There were 471 children adopted from psychosocially depriving Russian institutions that provided adequate physical resources but failed to provide a consistent set of responsive caregivers. There were 111 children adopted in the early 1990s from globally depriving Romanian institutions that were characterized by physical deprivation as well as profound psychosocial neglect. Adoptive parents completed a background questionnaire and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). Children adopted from globally depriving institutions had significantly higher levels of EF difficulties than children adopted from psychosocially depriving institutions. For both groups, adoption after 18 months of age was associated with higher levels of EF difficulties. Children adopted from globally depriving institutions had higher levels of EF difficulties than the BRIEF standardization sample at younger ages at adoption. There was moderate to strong continuity in EF difficulties over 2 years in children adopted from psychosocially depriving institutions. These findings suggest that more severe early deprivation may lead to a higher risk of later EF difficulties, which may persist over time.
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