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Early adolescent outcomes of institutionally-deprived and non-deprived adoptees. II: language as a protective factor and a vulnerable outcome

Croft, Carla, Beckett, Celia, Rutter, Michael, Castle, Jenny, Colvert, Emma, Groothues, Christine, Hawkins, Amanda, Kreppner, Jana, Stevens, Suzanne E. and Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S. (2007) Early adolescent outcomes of institutionally-deprived and non-deprived adoptees. II: language as a protective factor and a vulnerable outcome Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, (1), pp. 31-44.

Record type: Article


Background: There is uncertainty about the extent to which language skills are part of general intelligence and even more uncertainty on whether deprivation has differential effects on language and non-language skills.
Methods: Language and cognitive outcomes at 6 and 11 years of age were compared between a sample of 132 institution-reared Romanian children adopted into UK families under the age of 42 months, and a sample of 49 children adopted within the UK under the age of 6 months who had not experienced either institutional rearing or profound deprivation.
Results: The effects of institutional deprivation were basically similar for language and cognitive outcomes at age 6; in both there were few negative effects of deprivation if it ended before the age of 6 months and there was no linear association with duration of deprivation within the 6 to 42 month range. For the children over 18 months on arrival (range 18–42 months), the presence of even very minimal language skills (imitation of speech sounds) at the time of arrival was a strong beneficial prognostic factor for language and cognitive outcomes, but not for social/emotional/behavioural outcomes. Individual variations in adoptive parent characteristics were unrelated to differences in language or cognitive outcomes, possibly as a consequence of the limited variability in the adoptive family group.
Conclusions: Minimal language probably indexes some form of cognitive reserve that, in turn, indexes the degree of institutional deprivation.

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Published date: January 2007


Local EPrints ID: 48184
ISSN: 0021-9630
PURE UUID: bb983b3d-23f8-494c-8bf1-c59a8095b6c2
ORCID for Jana Kreppner: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 04 Sep 2007
Last modified: 28 Aug 2017 19:59

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Author: Carla Croft
Author: Celia Beckett
Author: Michael Rutter
Author: Jenny Castle
Author: Emma Colvert
Author: Christine Groothues
Author: Amanda Hawkins
Author: Jana Kreppner ORCID iD
Author: Suzanne E. Stevens
Author: Edmund J.S. Sonuga-Barke

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