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The neurocognitive profiles of children adopted from care and their emotional and behavioral problems at home and school

Paine, Amy L. ORCID:, Burley, Daniel, Anthony, Rebecca ORCID:, van Goozen, Stephanie ORCID: and Shelton, Katherine ORCID: 2021. The neurocognitive profiles of children adopted from care and their emotional and behavioral problems at home and school. Child Neuropsychology 27 (1) , pp. 17-36. 10.1080/09297049.2020.1776241

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Adoptees’ mental health problems in childhood and later life are well described, but little attention has been paid to domestically adopted children’s emotional and behavioral problems and neurocognitive profiles. The aim of this study was to describe the neurocognitive profiles of domestically adopted children in the UK and their parent- and teacher-rated emotional and behavioral problems. Forty-five children (M age = 75.96 months, SD = 12.98; 51.1% female) who were placed for adoption from public care at a M age of 22.14 months (SD = 14.21) completed a battery of age standardized neurocognitive tests, and adoptive parents and school teachers rated their emotional and behavioral problems. Children had more emotional and behavioral problems than the general population and over a fifth scored low (> 1 SD below the expected range for their age) in 5/6 neurocognitive tasks. Children who scored low on the non-verbal reasoning task were more likely to have more parent- and teacher-rated behavioral problems, and children’s performance on the inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility tasks were associated with parent-rated behavioral problems. Children’s verbal reasoning scores were positively associated with both parent- and teacher-rated emotional problems. Children who were adopted later in childhood scored significantly lower in non-verbal reasoning. Although longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the nature of neurocognitive functioning as a marker for later mental health problems, our findings underscore the importance of using comprehensive assessments to better recognize adopted children’s difficulties and inform appropriate intervention initiatives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Centre for Human Development Science (CHDS)
Additional Information: This article was (co-)authored by Cardiff NDAU researchers
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0929-7049
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 June 2020
Date of Acceptance: 23 May 2020
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 03:30

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