SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • International adoption;
  • family environment;
  • family cohesion

Purpose:To (a) characterize the total competence of 9- to 12-year old children adopted from the former Soviet Union who have resided in the United States at least 5 years, and (b) evaluate risks and protective influences of adoptive families and their relationships to competence.

Design:Longitudinal, descriptive study.

Methods:In the previously reported phase, the families of 105 internationally adopted children and their families from 23 U.S. states were assessed via telephone interviews and postal survey. In this phase, 3.5 years later, 46 of the families from 16 states were located and reassessed. Measures included: Total Competence scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Family Environment Scale (FES), and demographic information. Multivariate regression analysis was conducted to determine which risk and protective factors contributed to competence scores of the adopted children.

Findings:Between Time 1 (mean age of children, 7.7 years) and Time 2 (mean age of children, 11 years), average scores on the Total Competence scale of the CBCL did not change significantly, despite impending challenges of early adolescence. Subdomain scores on the FES were more positive than norms. Results from the regression analysis showed that, of the risk and protective factors considered, only birth weight and the cohesion subscale of the FES were statistically significant in explaining variation in the competence score of the CBCL.

Conclusions:Families continued to face challenges, but findings were consistent with other studies showing that, despite early adversities, these adopted children generally fared well developmentally with protective family environments of major importance.