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Adverse childhood experiences of children adopted from care: The importance of adoptive parental warmth for future child adjustment

Anthony, Rebecca E. ORCID:, Paine, Amy L. ORCID: and Shelton, Katherine H. ORCID: 2019. Adverse childhood experiences of children adopted from care: The importance of adoptive parental warmth for future child adjustment. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16 (12) , 2212. 10.3390/ijerph16122212

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We investigated the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and children’s internalising symptoms and externalising problems in the Wales Adoption Cohort Study, a prospective longitudinal study that used case file records (n = 374) for a sample of British children adopted from care (M = 2 years, 55% male). Parents (n = 96) completed questionnaires at 3–5 months, 15–17 months, and 31–33 months post-placement. We hypothesised that: (1) children adopted from care would have experienced more ACEs than children in the general population; (2) the number of ACEs would be associated with higher internalising symptom and externalising problem scores; and (3) adoptive parental warmth would moderate the relationship between ACEs and post-placement internalising symptoms and externalising problems. Nearly half (42%) of the children experienced four or more ACEs. Internalising symptoms and externalising problems were significantly higher than the UK general population. The number of ACEs was associated with internalising symptoms 3 years post-adoptive placement but this relationship was moderated by adoptive parental warmth. This study profiles the experiences and characteristics of a national sample of adopted children and highlights the potential importance of parent warmth as a factor that ameliorates the impact of ACEs on poor child outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1660-4601
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 18 June 2019
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 21:29

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