Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Foster care associated with improved growth, intelligence compared to orphanage care

Date:
April 9, 2010
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
Socially deprived children removed from orphanages and placed in foster care appear to experience gains in growth and intelligence, catching up to their non-institutionalized peers on many measures, according to a new report.

Socially deprived children removed from orphanages and placed in foster care appear to experience gains in growth and intelligence, catching up to their non-institutionalized peers on many measures, according to a report in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Social deprivation -- a lack of access to social and material resources -- is known to be associated with a syndrome of poor growth in children, according to background information in the article.

"Several subtypes have been described, though all share two characteristics: otherwise unexplained growth failure occurring in association with socially stressful conditions and significant catch-up when a child's caregiving environment improves," said Dana Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., the principal investigator of the study.

Johnson and his colleagues in the Medical School studied 136 healthy institutionalized infants (average age 21 months) from six orphanages in Bucharest, Romania. Of these, half were randomly assigned to remain in their facilities and half were assigned to a foster care program. Their growth rates and measures of intelligence over time were assessed, and they were compared with each other and with a group of 72 never-institutionalized children at 30, 42 and 54 months of age. Caregiving environments were evaluated by analyzing and coding 90-minute videotapes of the children interacting with their preferred caregivers.

At the beginning of the study, institutionalized children displayed compromised growth and development, with more severe deficits among those who were born weighing less than 5.5 lbs.. Children assigned to foster care showed rapid increases in height and weight (but not head circumference), so that by 12 months, 100 percent of them were in the normal range for height, 90 percent were in the normal range for weight, and 94 percent were in the normal range of weight for height.

Caregiving quality was a predictor of this catch-up growth. Components of the caregiving-quality score positively correlated with catch-up included sensitivity (child-centered, contingent responses) and positive regard for the child (acceptance, respect and warmth, including expressions of physical affection).

Children whose height caught up to normal levels also appeared to improve their cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) abilities. Each incremental increase of one in standardized height scores between baseline and 42 months was associated with an average increase of 12.6 points in verbal IQ.

"The significance of these findings extends beyond the millions of children worldwide within institutional or conventional foster care to the hundreds of millions of impoverished children who have stunted growth and/or do not meet their developmental potential and are living within families," Johnson said. "Psychosocial deprivation within any caregiving environment during early life is as detrimental as malnutrition and must be viewed with as much concern as any severely debilitating childhood disease."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dana E. Johnson; Donald Guthrie; Anna T. Smyke; Sebastian F. Koga; Nathan A. Fox; Charles H. Zeanah; Charles A. Nelson III. Growth and Associations Between Auxology, Caregiving Environment, and Cognition in Socially Deprived Romanian Children Randomized to Foster vs Ongoing Institutional Care. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, April 2010; DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.56

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Foster care associated with improved growth, intelligence compared to orphanage care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405174949.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2010, April 9). Foster care associated with improved growth, intelligence compared to orphanage care. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405174949.htm
University of Minnesota. "Foster care associated with improved growth, intelligence compared to orphanage care." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100405174949.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins