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Keywords:

  • FINADO study;
  • international adoption;
  • learning difficulties;
  • reactive attachment disorder

Abstract

Objective  This study investigated the association between psychological symptoms, such as features of reactive attachment disorder (RAD), and learning difficulties among international adoptees in Finland.

Methods  The data for this study came from the FINnish ADOption (FINADO) study covering all internationally adopted children in Finland (n= 1450), with a response rate of 55.7%. The subsample consisted of 395 adopted children aged 9–15 (51.6% girls, 48.4% boys). Learning difficulties were evaluated by a screening questionnaire ‘Five To Fifteen’ and symptoms of RAD by FINADO RAD scale.

Results  The parents estimated that one-third (33.4%) of the internationally adopted children had some, and 12.7% had severe learning difficulties, i.e. three and six times more than in normal population, respectively. RAD symptoms at the time of adoption were associated with learning difficulties at school age (OR 4.57, 95% CI 2.57–8.13).

Conclusions  Learning difficulties are common among internationally adopted children in Finland and symptoms of RAD are associated with a child's learning difficulties.