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Inattention/overactivity following early severe institutional deprivation: presentation and associations in early adolescence

Stevens, Suzanne E., Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S., Kreppner, Jana M., Beckett, Celia, Castle, Jenny, Colvert, Emma, Groothues, Christine, Hawkins, Amanda and Rutter, Michael (2008) Inattention/overactivity following early severe institutional deprivation: presentation and associations in early adolescence Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, pp. 385-398.

Record type: Article


The current study examined the persistence and phenotypic presentation of inattention/overactivity (I/O) into early adolescence, in a sample of institution reared (IR) children adopted from Romania before the age of 43 months. Total sample comprised 144 IR and 21 non-IR Romanian adoptees, and a comparison group of 52 within-UK adoptees, assessed at ages 6 and 11 years. I/O was rated using Rutter Scales completed by parents and teachers. I/O continued to be strongly associated with institutional deprivation, with continuities between ages 6 and 11 outcomes. There were higher rates of deprivation-related I/O in boys than girls, and I/O was strongly associated with conduct problems, disinhibited attachment and executive function but not IQ more generally, independently of gender. Deprivation-related I/O shares many common features with ADHD, despite its different etiology and putative developmental mechanisms. I/O is a persistent domain of impairment following early institutional deprivation of 6 months or more, suggesting there may be a possible pathway to impairment through some form of neuro-developmental programming during critical periods of early development.

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Published date: April 2008
Keywords: inattention/overactivity, early deprivation, romanian institutional rearing, international adoption


Local EPrints ID: 50139
ISSN: 0091-0627
PURE UUID: 92bd9cbb-9c5b-41b5-962f-5a1b77dd3ed9
ORCID for Jana M. Kreppner: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 30 Jan 2008
Last modified: 28 Aug 2017 23:53

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

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