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  • Marinus H. van IJzendoorn,

    Corresponding author
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    • Jesús Palacios,

    • Edmund J. S. Sonuga-Barke,

    • Megan R. Gunnar,

    • Panayiota Vorria,

    • Robert B. McCall,

    • Lucy Le Mare,

    • Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg,

    • Natasha A. Dobrova-Krol,

    • Femmie Juffer

    • MHvIJ was supported by the SPINOZA prize from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, JP by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (grant PR2008-0291), MRG by grants from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health: 080905, 078105, and 079513, PV by the Nuffield Foundation, RBM by grant R01HD50212 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, MJBK by a VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (no. 452-04-306), and FJ by Wereldkinderen.

    Corresponding author: Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, email:


    Children exposed to institutional care often suffer from “structural neglect” which may include minimum physical resources, unfavorable and unstable staffing patterns, and socially emotionally inadequate caregiver-child interactions. This chapter is devoted to the analysis of the ill effects of early institutional experiences on resident children's development. Delays in the important areas of physical, hormonal, cognitive, and emotional development are discussed. The evidence for and against the existence of a distinctive set of co-occurring developmental problems in institutionalized children is weighed and found to not yet convincingly demonstrate a “postinstitutional syndrome.” Finally, shared and nonshared features of the institutional environment and specific genetic, temperamental, and physical characteristics of the individual child are examined that might make a crucial difference in whether early institutional rearing leaves irreversible scars.

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