Romanian Orphan Studies

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  • Romanian Orphan Studies
    • 165 Romanian orphans adopted by UK families. 52 adopted British children.
      • Children were assessed at the ages of 4,6,11,15 to assess their physical, cognitive and emotional development. Data gathered through interviews with teachers and parents. Their progress was compared to control group.
        • At time of adoption all Romanian orphans lagged behind control group. At 4 most orphans adopted before 6 months has caught up development wise with control group. The Romanian orphans adopted after 6 months had lower IQ scores and were more likely to display dis-inhibited attachment.
          • Institutionalisation can effect a child's emotional and cognitive development negatively. These effects are more likely in a child who spends more than the first 6 months of their life in an institution.
    • Le Mare and Audet: 36 Romanian orphans adopted to Canadian families, control group of Canadian adoptees.
      • They assessed the children's physical growth and health at several intervals.
        • Adopted children were physically smaller at age 4.5 years when compared to the control group. At age 10.5 years this difference had disappeared.
          • The physical effects of institutionalisation can be recovered from.
    • Orphan studies have led to improvements in the way children are cared for in institutions, large children homes are avoided and each child will have one or two key workers, children have better substitute care and quality of life can be improved, they therefore don't develop negative effects
    • Conditions are so bad that the results may not apply to all institutional care, the standards in these orphanages are very poor which isn't the case for all so results can't be generalised to all institutional care in other countries.
    • These studies don't give a clear picture of the long term effects, they stopped assessing the children's development in mid teens, so we don't know whether the long term effects affect them or improves with age, children may take longer to recover of effects may develop later.
    • There could have been cofounding variables that may effect results; care may vary from child to child, e.g. a child who smiles at the staff may get more attention paid to them, we are not sure what type of care a child had before coming to the orphanage or whether they experiences trauma.
      • Another variable may therefore be responsible for the development of the effects, meaning it's hard to draw conclusions on the effects of institutionalisation from the studies.

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