Title

Pre-adoption adversity and behavior problems in adopted Chinese children: A longitudinal study

Document Type

Article

Department

Institute for Human Development

Abstract

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.

Publication

Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology