Correlates of change in postinstitutionalized infants' sustained social withdrawal behavior following adoption

Daphna Dollberg, Miri Keren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Infants adopted from institutions experience inadequate care prior to adoption and are therefore expected to show elevated sustained social withdrawal behavior shortly after being adopted. Social withdrawal is expected to decrease as they adapt to their new families. Sustained social withdrawal was assessed 1 month' postadoption (Time 1) and again 6 months later (Time 2) via the Baby Alarm Distress procedure (A. Guedeney & J. Fermanian,). At Time 1, 22.5% of the infants scored within the clinical range for social withdrawal whereas a significant decrease in social withdrawal was indicated at Time 2, with none of the infants scoring above the cutoff score. As predicted, maternal depressive symptoms and insecure attachment were associated with a smaller decrease in infants' social withdrawal. High maternal expectations for efficacy were associated with a smaller decrease in social withdrawal. Infants' temperament, gender, age at adoption, developmental level, and maternal marital status were unrelated to the level of change in social withdrawal. Participating in a preventive intervention was not associated with greater change in social withdrawal. These results highlight the beneficial effect of adoption and the role of maternal depression and attachment security in decreasing sustained social withdrawal among internationally adopted infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-585
Number of pages12
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

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