Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 185–204 | Cite as

Institutionalization, Romanian Adoptions and Executive Functioning

  • Victor Groza
  • Scott D. Ryan
  • Sara Thomas


The impact of a traumatic environment during early childhood is linked to short-term and long-term difficulties in adoptees. This study, utilizing a non-random, cross-sectional analysis of 123 children adopted from Romania, focused on executive cognitive functioning. One-third of the sample had not been institutionalized while the other two-thirds had been institutionalized for varying lengths of time from 1 month to more than 3 years, resulting in a “natural experiment” that allowed us to compare these two groups. Information from parents and teachers was obtained regarding their perception of the child’s executive functioning. Results indicate that, after many years in their adoptive families, 40% of the adoptees had physical challenges and 36% were in at least some special education classes. The best predictor of parental perception of current executive functioning was parent perception of the current parent–child relationship and not preadoptive history.


Executive functioning International adoptions Preadoptive history Institutionalization Parent–child relationship 



Partial funding for this project came from the Schubert Center for Child Development, Case Western Reserve University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Grace F. Brody Professor in Parent-Child Studies, Mandel School of Applied Social SciencesCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.College of Social WorkFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Bellefaire Jewish Children’s BureauShaker HeightsUSA

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