Southampton psychopathologist, Dr Jana Kreppner, is part of the English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) collaboration with King’s. The long-term study has followed a group of Romanian children into early adulthood after experiencing profound early-institutional hardship.
It’s the first study of its kind. It reports that time-limited periods of early institutional deprivation can have profound effects on development and mental health persisting into young adulthood, despite the positive influence of caring and supportive adoptive families.
Results show that children in care for over 6 months had higher rates of social, emotional and cognitive problems in early adulthood. They were also more likely to have lower education and employment rates compared to infant adoptees from the UK.
This research could be used to improve the way professionals work with adoptees and people who have undergone childhood trauma. For example exploring how to better support children with experience in the care system.