Romanian Orphan Studies

  • Created by: CG24601
  • Created on: 09-05-19 17:37
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  • Romanian Orphan Studies
    • institutionalisation
      • the effects of living in an institutional setting, for example a hospital or orphanage where children live for long, continuous periods of time
      • Effects
        • Disinhibited attachment
          • a typical effect of spending time in institutions
          • indiscriminate social behaviour - act just as friendly and affectionate to strangers as they do friends
          • Rutter explains this as an adaptation to living with multiple carers during their sensitive period
        • Mental retardation
          • all children showed signs of retardation when they first arrived
            • children adopted before six months generally caught up with the control by age four
        • intellectual and emotional development can be recovered provided adoption takes place before six months
    • Background
      • Ceaucescu required romanian women to have five children which many couldn't afford
      • The children that families couldn't afford would be put in institutions with very poor conditions
      • After the 1989 Revolution, many children were adopted by British parents
    • Rutter's ERA study
      • Procedure
        • Rutter et al. followed 165 Romanian orphans adopted in Britain
          • They wanted to study whether good care could make up for poor early childhood experiences in institutions
        • Physical, cognitive and emotional developments assessed at ages 4, 6, 11 and 15
        • a control of 52 British kids adopted around the same time
      • Findings
        • when they first arrived in the UK, half the adoptees showed signs of delayed intellectual development and most were severely under-nourished
        • the mean IQ for those adopted after six months was 86, compared to 102 for those adopted before six months
          • differences remained at age 16
        • those adopted after six months showed signs of disinhibited attachment, those adopted before rarely did
          • Disinhibited attachment - attention seeking, clinginess and indiscriminate social behaviour
    • the Bucharest Early Intervention Project
      • Procedure
        • Zeanah et al. assessed attachment in 95 children aged 12-31 months who had spent most of their lives in institutionalisation
        • control group of 50 children who had never spent time in institutions
        • measured their attachment type with the strange situation
        • carers were asked about any unusual social behaviour for signs of disinhibited attachment
      • Findings
        • 74% of the control were secure compared to 19% of the orphans
        • 65% classified with disorganised attachment
        • disorganised attachment symptoms were found in 44% of the institution kids compared to only 20% of the controls
    • Real-life application
      • enhanced understanding of the effects of institutions, leading to improvements in the way institutions are run
        • institutions now provide a key worker and limit the amount of carers a child has
    • Fewer extraneous variables than other orphan studies
      • a lot of orphan studies involve orphans who experienced huge loss or trauma before they entered an institution
      • Romanian orphans lack confounding participant variables
      • its possible to study the effects of institutions only with Romanian orphans as they don't have the same extent of trauma pre-institution
    • Romanian orphanages were atypical
      • it is possible that the conditions were so bad that results cannot necessarily be applied
      • because of the unusual situational variables, studies may lack general-isability


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