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10 Cards in this Set

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Define Institutionalisation.
A term for the effects of living in an institutionalised setting.

Define the term institution
Place like a hospital or an orphanage where children live for long, continuous periods of time.

List problems w/ institutions

- Very little emotional care provided, as children living in this situation cannot see enough of any one carer to develop an attachment.

- Possible effects include social, mental & physical underdevelopment.

A & P of Rutter's English & Romanian Adoptee Study.


- Investigate to what extent loving & nurturing care could make up for the poor early experiences in institutions.


- Natural & Longitudinal experiment.

- 165 Romanian orphans adopted in Britain to assess their physical, cognitive & emotional development @ ages 4, 6, 11 & 15.

- IV = age of adoption w/ 3 groups, adopted: before 6 months, between 6 months & 2yrs & after 2 yrs.

- Info gathered by interviews w/ parents & teachers.

- Progress was compare to 52 British children adopted in the UK before the age of 6 months.

F & C of Rutter's English & Romanian Adoptee Study

Findings - Effects of Institutionalisation

Mental Retardation

- When Romanian adoptees arrived In Britain, half showed signs of retardation.

- By age of 4 most of Romanian children adopted before 6 months had caught up w/ British counterparts.

- @ age 11 the mean IQ: adopted before 6 months (102), between 6 months & 2yrs (86) & @ 2 yrs (77).

- Appears damage to intellectual development as a result of institutionalisation can be recovered provided adoption takes place before 6 months (age when attachments are formed).

Disinhibited Attachment

- Adopted after 6 months = showed signs of disinhibited attachment.

- Symptoms include: attention seeking, clinginess & friendliness to any adult that is available (treats all adults the same) & a tendency to go off w/ strangers.

- Children adopted before 6 months rarely show this attachment.

- Attachment = adaptation to living w/ multiple CG during the sensitive period for attachment formation.

- In poor quality institutions a child might have 50 carers, none of whom they see enough to form a secure attachment.


- Findings suggest children can recover from institutionalisation if they have good quality care.

- Removal from institutional care should occur before 6 months.

P, F & C of La Mare's Bucharest Early Intervention Project


- Reported findings from a longitudinal study of 36 Romanian orphans adopted by families in Canada.

- Were compared to a matched control group.

- DV = physical growth & health.

- B/c previous research had shown that lack of emotional care rather than poor nourishment is the cause of what has been called deprivation dwarfism.

Findings - Effects of Institutionalisation

Physical Underdevlopment

- Adopted orphans were typically smaller than control group @ age 4 & a half.

- Difference disappeared by 10 & a half yrs.

- True for physical health too.


- Recovery from the effects of institutionalisation on physical development is possible.

Strength of Research into the Effects of Institutionalisation: Real Life Application

- Research has enhanced our understanding of the effects of institutionalisation.

- Led to improvements in the way children are cared for in institutions.

- E.G. orphanages & children's homes now avoid having large no. of CGs for each child.

- Instead ensure that a smaller no. of people play a cenral role for the child - Key worker.

- This means children have a chance to develop normal attachments & helps avoid disinhibited attachment.

- Strength = immensely valuable in practical terms.

- What has research enhanced our understanding of?

- What has it led to improvements in?

- What do orphanges & children's home now avoid doing?

- What do they do instead, and what are these people called?

- What will this allow (attachment)?

Strength of Research into the Effects of Institutionalisation: Value of Longitudinal Studies

- Studies have followed the lives of children over many yrs.

- This takes a lot of time & planning but benefits are large.

- W/out studies we may mistakenly conclude that major effects of early institutional care are irreversible.

- But Rutter & La Mare have shown effects may disappear after sufficient amount of time w/ early intervention.

- Research strengthens the argument that recovery even after severe privation is possible provide children move to loving environment.

- Common problem w/ longitudinal research = subject attrition.

- Pp's drop out.

- Limittion b/c particular kinds of pp's, such as those that are n ot well adjusted, = more likely to drop out.

- Leads to biased sample = can't generalise findings.

- What is a longitudinal study?

- What may we have wrongly concluded w/out research h into effects of institutionalisation?

- But what did this research show?

-Which strengthens what argument?

- What is a common problem w/ longitudinal studies?

- How is this limiting?

Limitation of Research into the Effects of Institutionalisation: Romanian Orphans were not Typical

- It is possible that conditions were so bad, Romanian orphanages, that results cannot be applied to understanding the impact of better quality institutional care or any situations where children experience deprivation.

- E.G. Romanian orphanages had particularly poor standards of care, especially when it came to forming any relationship w/ other children, & extremely low levels od intellectual stimulation .

- Extreme experiences of privation = studies lack generalisation due to unusual situational variables.

- This question the population validity of Romanian orphan studies.

- Poor conditions in orphanages may mean that results cannot be applied to our understanding of what?

- List qualities that made Romanian orphanages bad.

- Extreme experiences of privation mean the studies lack...

- What does this question?

Limitation of Research into the Effects of Institutionalisation: Natural Experiment

-Methodological issues for Rutter's ERA project is that children were not randomly assigned to 3 conditions.

- Researcher didn't interfere w/ adoption process = children adopted early may have been more sociable, a confounding variable.

- Wouldn't have been possible to manipulate IV in Rutter's research as this would involve allocating children to either institutional care or foster care.

- Would be methodologically be better b/c removes confounding variable of which children are chosen by parents.

- However, raises huge ethical issues.

- Highlights importance of ethical consideration when conducting research on adopted children, due to possible long-term effects of institutionalisation.

- What is a methodological issue of Rutter's study?

- What didn't the research interfere w/ & why may this cause a confounding variable?

- Why wouldn't it have able to manipulate the IV in this study but why is this methodologically better?

- However, what does this raise?