This longitudinal study examined the potential mitigating effects of the adoptive home environment on inattention and overactivity (I/O) in children adopted from Romanian orphanages. Three groups were studied: (1) Children who experienced at least 8 months of deprivation in an orphanage prior to being adopted to British Columbia (RO group), (2) Children adopted to British Columbia from Romanian orphanages prior to 4-months-of-age (EA group), and (3) Canadian born non-adopted children (CB group). Comparisons of rates of I/O among the 3 group revealed that at ages 4.5, 10.5 and 16-years RO children had more difficulties with I/O than either the EA or CB children. Within the post-institutionalized groups, I/O was related to duration of deprivation and this association was not found to significantly attenuate over time, indicating that duration of deprivation continued to have an influence on the children’s I/O well into adolescence. Several aspects of the adoptive home environment (parenting practices, parent-child attachment, parent-child interaction styles and nurturance and stimulation) were found to significantly correlate with the children’ I/O. Regression analyses indicated that parent-child attachment and parenting practices account for significant variance in I/O beyond that accounted for by duration of deprivation.
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