AS Psychology: Romanian Orphanages Studies

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  • Rutters Work: Romanian Orphans (1998)
    • Professor Michael Rutter and his team were interested in seeing whether the effects of institutional care and privation could be overcome by the long term provision of a more nurturing and enriching enviroment.
    • Aim: To assess whether loving and nuturing care could overturn the effects of privation the children had suffered in Romanian orphanages.
    • This was a longitudinal study, incorporating a quasi experiment.
    • The independant variable was the age of adoption. (Three age groups were studied)
      • Condition 1: Children adopted before the age of 6 months.
        • Condition 2: Children adopted between 6 months and 2 years.
          • Condition 3: Children adopted after 2 years.
    • The dependant variable was the childrens leel of cognitive functioning.
    • 111 Romanian orphans were intially assessed for height, head circumferenceand cognitive functioning on arrival in Britain.
    • All children were assessed again at age 4, 6, 11 and 15.
    • Around 50% of the Romanian orphans were not retarded in cognitive functioning at initial assessment and most were underweight.
    • At age 4 years, the Romanian orphans showed great improvments in physical and cognitive development, with the orphans adopted before 6 months of age doing as well as the british adopted children.
    • A group of 52 British children adopted around the same time have served as a control group.
    • In terms of attachment, there was different outcomes related to whether adoption took place before or after eix months.
      • Those children adopted after they were 6 months showed signs of a particular attachment style called disinhibited attachment.
        • Symptons of disinhibited attachment include attention seeking, clinginess and social behaviour directed indiscriminately towards adults both familiar and unfamiliar.
      • The children adopted before 6 moths, rarely displayed disinhibited attachement


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