Privation and Institutionalisation

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  • Created on: 02-05-09 17:33
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Privation - Lack of attachment
Institutionalisation - an infant never had the opportunity to form any attachments
study of
Aims The study followed the same children over a long period of time to collect reliable
information linking early experiences to later outcomes. Its aims were:
To investigate the effects of early privation on social and emotional development
To test the maternal deprivation hypothesis.
Procedur The participants were 65 children who had been placed in an institution when
es they were les than 4 months old. In the institution, there was an explicit policy in
the institution against caregivers forming attachments with the children,
suggesting the children had experienced early privation.
By the age of 4, 24 of the institutionalised children had been adopted, 15 had
returned to their natural homes and the rest remained in the institution.
Assessments at age 8 and 26 involved interviewing those children who were
adopted and those who had returned to their original homes. Their parents, their
teachers and their peers were also interviewed. Data was collected from a control
group of `normal' peers.
Findings There were some differences between adopted and `restored' children. The
adopted children generally had close attachments to their parents and good
family relationships, whereas this was much less true for the restored children.
However, there were similarities in the behaviour of the adopted and restored
children outside the family. For example, both groups were more likely to seek
adult attention and approval than the control children, and both groups were less
successful in peer relationships.
Further Research
In Romania, many children were place in orphanages where they
experienced considerable deprivation. Rutter et al. studied 111
Romanian orphans, who had been adopted in the UK before the age
of 2. By the age of 4, these children had caught up with
developmental milestones. The study suggested that the later the
children were adopted, the longer it would take to recovers, but that
recovery is possible.

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An earlier study by Quinton et al. found the reverse. The study followed a group of ex-institutional
women. These women had extreme difficulties when they became parents; their children were more
frequently in care and the women were less sensitive, supportive and caring with their children than
the control group of non-institutionalised women.
A recent study by Rutter et al. followed a group of Romanian orphans, assessing them at ages 4, 6
and 11 years old.…read more


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