Can children recover from institutionalisation and privation?

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  • Created by: izzy
  • Created on: 10-06-13 22:36

Studies on privation and institutionalisation suggest that children can recover from adverse early experiences. However, the extent of recovery depends on a number of factors.

  • The quality of care at the institution: Dontas et al. (1985) carried out two studies on babies in a Greek orphanage to see if institutionally raised children could develop attachments in the normal way. In one study, they looked at 15 babies aged between 7 and 9 months (the important age at which attachments are formed). Each child had been given a member of staff to care specifically for them and had formed an attachment with their carer. Dontas visited them after two weeks in their adoptive home. Dontas found that the babies adjusted well and by the end of the second week had started to form attachments to their new carers. In a second study at the institution, 16 babies aged between 5 and 12 months were observed playing with familiar and unfamiliar peers of a similar age. As in the above study, each of the babies had been able to form an attachment with a carer at the children's home. Their play behaviour showed none of the apparent effect of institutionalisation such as indiscriminate attention seeking that had been previously been noted in Tizard and Hodges's study. This research shows how important it is for children in institutions to be able to develop…


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