Development and Psychopathology

Social Policy Implications of Research in Developmental Psychopathology

International adoption of institutionally reared children: Research and policy

a1 University of Minnesota


This article summarizes the research on the developmental outcomes of postinstitutionalized children and discusses the implications for social policy. Postinstitutionalized children often reach their adoptive families with varying degrees of physical growth retardation, cognitive delays, and socioemotional problems. Many children demonstrate remarkable recovery following adoption. Unfortunately, some of the children continue to display significant problems that require professional intervention. It appears that the children's recovery may be influenced by their early experiences with their birth family and in institutional care, and there is suggestive evidence that postadoption experiences also play a role. These findings indicate that preadoption and postadoption services may support the outcome of postinstitutionalized children.

c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Megan R. Gunnar, Institute of Child Development, 51 East River Road, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.