Background: We examined the effects of a foster care intervention on attention and emotion expression in socially deprived children in Romanian institutions.
Methods: Institutionalized children were randomized to enter foster care or to remain under institutional care. Subsequently, the institutionalized and foster care groups, along with a community-based comparison group, were evaluated on emotion tasks at 30 and 42 months of age. Behaviors reflecting positive and negative affect and attention were coded from videotapes. Results: Data indicated that at both age points, children who received the foster care intervention showed higher levels of attention and positive affect compared to children who remained institutionalized. Compared to the community sample, children in the foster care intervention showed higher levels of attention to the emotion-eliciting tasks at 42 months of age.
Conclusions: The results of this randomized trial demonstrate the impact of a family-based intervention on the development of attention and positive affect.