Adopted and Nonadopted Adolescents’ Adjustment

Alessandra C. Iervolino

in Nature, Nurture, and the Transition to Early Adolescence

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157475
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848065 | DOI:
Adopted and Nonadopted                         Adolescents’ Adjustment

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Persons under the age of eighteen adopted by non-relatives constitute approximately 2–3% of the population of the United States. Although the majority of interfamilial adoptions have positive outcomes, there is some evidence to suggest that adoptees might be at an increased risk of maladjustment, especially when the adoptees are selected from clinical samples. Although adopted infants and preschool children do not differ significantly from their non-adopted peers, externalizing problems and conduct problems become more pronounced among adoptees in middle childhood. It is unclear, however, whether adopted children continue to exhibit greater levels of maladjustment during adolescence. This chapter reviews current research and presents data that explore adoptees' emotional, social, and scholastic adjustment in the transition from early to late adolescence. Although adoptees show less favorable outcomes in some areas of adjustment, the differences observed between adopted and non-adopted adolescents are negligible and not representative of an increased risk of psychiatric and educational morbidity. These results further indicate that in areas of social adjustment and social competence, adoptees fare better than their non-adopted counterparts.

Keywords: adoptions; adoptees; maladjustment; middle childhood; adolescence; social adjustment; adopted children; morbidity; social competence

Chapter.  8124 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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