Pre-adoption adversity and behavior problems in adopted Chinese children: A longitudinal study
In this paper, we report (1) trajectories in adopted Chinese children's behavior problems over six years, (2) how pre-adoption adversity predicted Wave 1 behavior problems and the rate of behavioral change in subsequent Waves, and (3) the predictive importance of age at adoption relative to four psychosocial measures of pre-adoption adversity. Four waves (across six years) of data on 1285 adopted children (Mage at adoption = 16.40 months, SD = 15.40; Mage = 4.89 years, SD = 2.96 at Wave 1) were collected from adoptive mothers with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). At Wave 1, data on age at adoption, and four psychosocial measures of pre-adoption adversity were collected: physical signs/symptoms (e.g., sores) of deprivation, developmental delays at arrival, refusal/avoidance behaviors, and crying/clinging behaviors during the first three weeks of adoption. Multilevel modeling yielded three key findings: First, the adopted Chinese children's CBCL scores increased over time. Second, signs/symptoms, refusal/avoidance and crying/clinging behavior predicted differences in the adopted children's Internalizing, Externalizing and Total CBCL scores at study entry; developmental delays at arrival predicted differences in Internalizing and Total CBCL scores at study entry. Crying/clinging scores also predicted rates of change in Internalizing and Total CBCL scores. Refusal/avoidance scores also predicted rates of change in Internalizing, Externalizing and Total CBCL scores. Finally, the four psychosocial measures of pre-adoption adversity outperformed age at adoption as predictors of CBCL scores at study entry and the rate of change in CBCL scores in subsequent Waves.