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Health problems in children adopted from Romania Association with duration of deprivation and behavioural problems

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This paper by Celia Beckett, Jenny Castle, Christine Groothues, Thomas G O'Connor, Michael Rutter and the English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) study team* examines the pattern of health problems as reported by parents in a group of children adopted from Romania and relates these findings to outcomes at age six. The study is based on a representative sample of 165 children, 144 of whom had experienced institutional deprivation, and a UK adoptee group of 52 nondeprived UK adoptees. At the time of UK entry, over half of the children adopted from Romania had marked health problems. The majority had suffered severe malnutrition and there was a high incidence of respiratory, skin and gastro-intestinal infections; 13 per cent had antibodies to hepatitis B. At age six, 17 per cent of the children had conductive hearing loss, 12 per cent had continuing strabismus and 35 per cent skin problems; half of those infected with hepatitis B were still surface antigen positive. Inattention/overactivity at age six was found to be more likely in children who had been exposed to prenatal and postnatal health risks. The children who had quasi-autistic features were also more likely to have strabismus. There were no associations found between health risks and either cognitive outcomes or attachment problems. The risk of inattention/ overactivity for children who have suffered marked deprivation was increased for those who had additional health risks.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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