Early life experiences and psychiatric disorders: an adoptee study

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1982 Apr;65(4):283-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1982.tb00848.x.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether there is any correlation between negative experiences in early infancy and the later occurrence of psychiatric disorders. The subjects in this study were a cohort of 2,215 adoptees born 1930-1949. Information about the probands' early experiences has been obtained from the files of the Child Welfare Office, which include age at time of placement in the adoptive home and type of care before placement. 136 of the probands had been treated in a psychiatric department or mental hospital. From the case records a uniform classification of diagnoses was made. The analyses have been carried out in two steps; first as repeated univariate analyses and secondly as series of discriminant function analyses. Reactive neurotic depression was significantly correlated with placement at the age of 6-12 months, but with this sole exception there was no support for the hypothesis of a correlation between psychiatric disorders and early experiences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjustment Disorders / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adoption*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Institutionalized / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Divorce
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foster Home Care / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Deprivation
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged