Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

International Adoption: Assessment of Adaptive and Maladaptive Behavior of Adopted Minors in Spain

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

International Adoption: Assessment of Adaptive and Maladaptive Behavior of Adopted Minors in Spain

Article excerpt

Research on adjustment of internationally adopted children indicates that, although they have adequate development, more emotional and behavioral problems are detected compared with nonadopted children. In this research, emotional and behavioral characteristics of a sample of 52 internationally adopted minors were examined with the BASC (Parent Rating Scales and Self-Report of Personality), comparing the outcomes with 44 nonadopted minors, all of them of ages between 6 and 11 years (mean age = 8.01 years). Results indicate differences between adopted and nonadopted children related to somatization, adopted minors are those that obtain lower scores in the scale, and in the adaptability scale, where nonadopted minors obtain higher scores. Significant differences were found in the adaptive abilities scales, suggesting that nonadopted boys show better abilities than adopted ones, and no differences were found among girls. In general, boys present higher scores in externalizing symptomatology and depression than girls. Among adopted children, time spent in an institution is a variable that has negative impact on the onset of externalizing and internalizing problems. Minors coming from Eastern Europe display more attentional problems, poorer adaptive abilities and poorer interpersonal relations than the rest of the minors. According to the age at placement, attentional problems appear in minors adopted after the age of 3 years.

Keywords: international adoption, adaptation, institutionalization, BASC.

Las investigaciones sobre la adaptación de menores procedentes de adopción internacional señalan que, aunque estos niños tienen un desarrollo correcto, se detectan más problemas emocionales y conductuales que en niños no adoptados. Esta investigación ha examinado con el BASC (cuestionario para padres y autoinforme) tanto los trastornos de adaptación como los rasgos adaptativos de una muestra de 52 menores procedentes de adopción internacional, comparando los resultados con 44 menores no adoptados de edades comprendidas entre los 6 y los 11 años (media = 8.01 años). Los resultados indican diferencias entre los menores adoptados y los no adoptados relativas a somatización, siendo los menores adoptados quienes obtienen mejores puntuaciones en la escala, y en la escala de adaptabilidad, siendo los menores no adoptados los que obtienen mejores puntuaciones. Se han encontrado diferencias significativas en la escala de habilidades adaptativas, sugiriendo que los varones no adoptados muestran mejores habilidades que los adoptados, no encontrándose diferencias en las niñas. En cuanto al sexo de los menores, en los varones se detecta una mayor sintomatología externalizada y depresión que en las mujeres. Entre el grupo de menores adoptados, el tiempo de institucionalización influye negativamente en la aparición de trastornos, tanto externalizados como internalizados. Según el país de procedencia, los menores procedentes de Europa del Este presentan más problemas de atención, y peores habilidades adaptativas y relaciones interpersonales que el resto de menores. Destaca la aparición de más problemas de atención en los menores adoptados a partir de los tres años.

Palabras clave: adopción internacional, adaptación, institucionalización, BASC.

International adoption is an increasing phenomenon and, according to the data of the Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport (2008), the number of international adoptions in Spain in the last five-year interval (2003- 2007) was approximately 23,035.

Studies on international adoption in Spain show that most of the adopted minors achieve a very similar adaptation as the minors who live with their biological families, but the adopted children have a higher probability of suffering from behavior problems, hyperactivity, low self-esteem, and academic problems (Berástegui, 2005; Fernández, 2004; Moliner & Gil, 2002; Orjales, 1997).

The review of the investigations carried out abroad shows that most of the adopted minors present adequate psychosocial adjustment (Bimmel, Juffer, van IJzendoorn, & Bakermans-Kranenburg, 2003; Juffer & van IJzendoorn, 2005, 2007). …

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