The development and adjustment of 7-year-old children adopted in infancy

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2000 Nov;41(8):1025-37.


The present study (N = 159) provides evidence of an increased risk for behavior problems of infant-placed 7-year-old internationally, transracially adopted children in the Netherlands. However, parents reported more behavior problems for adopted boys than for adopted girls. Notably, about 30% of the adopted children were classified as clinical on the CBCL scale for total problems, which is a much larger percentage than the 10% found in the normative population. It was suggested that these results could be explained by the operation of multiple risk factors before and after adoption placement, e.g. the child's genetic disposition, pre-natal and pre-adoption care, or the child's cognitive understanding of adoption in middle childhood. Also, results suggest that maternal sensitive responsiveness in adoptive families declines in the transition from early to middle childhood. In contrast to the home setting, the adopted children showed favorable behavioral and socioemotional adjustment at school, while their academic achievement and intelligence were in the normal range or above average. In particular Korean children had high IQs: 31% of these children obtained an intelligence score above 120. It was suggested that adoptive parents seem to offer their children sufficient or even more than average cognitive stimulation. Furthermore, adopted girls scored higher in optimal ego-control, social competence, and peer group popularity than nonadopted girls from the general population: 30% of the adopted girls were rated as popular by their classmates, which compares favorably to the 13% found in the general school population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoption* / ethnology
  • Adoption* / psychology
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / ethnology
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / psychology
  • Child Development*
  • Colombia / ethnology
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intelligence
  • Internal-External Control
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Sri Lanka / ethnology