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

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)385-398
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition (Psychology)
  • Institutionalization
  • Male
  • Maternal Deprivation
  • Object Attachment
  • Phenotype
  • Questionnaires
  • Romania


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