Early developmental and psychosocial risks and longitudinal behavioral adjustment outcomes for preschool-age girls adopted from China

Document Type



Institute for Human Development


The central goal of this longitudinal study was to examine behavioral adjustment outcomes in a sample of preschool-age adopted Chinese girls. Research examining the effects of institutional deprivation on post-adoption behavioral outcomes for internationally adopted children has been constrained by the frequent unavailability of data on the institutional experiences of adopted children. Using child-level measures of the residual effects of pre-adoption deprivation or adversity, the present study of 452 preschool-age girls adopted from China tested the hypothesis that these measures will better predict behavioral adjustment (as measured on the CBCL/1½–5) than age at adoption (AAA), used conventionally as a proxy measure of the magnitude of deprivation effects. Along with AAA (M = 13.1 months, SD = 5.1), our measures were used to predict behavioral adjustment at two time points (Mage = 2.7 years at Time 1 and 4.8 years at Time 2). There was strong stability in behavioral adjustment across time, and the regression results showed that delays in social skills, refusal/avoidance behaviors, and crying/clinging behaviors at the time of adoption, rather than AAA, predicted behavioral adjustment outcomes.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology