Behavior Problems in Children Transferred from a Socioemotionally Depriving Institution to St. Petersburg (Russian Federation) Families

Rifkat J. Muhamedrahimov, Varvara V. Agarkova, Elena A. Vershnina, Oleg I. Palmov, Natalia V. Nikiforova, Robert B. McCall and Christina J. Groark

Behavior problems were studied in fifty 5- to 8-year-old children transferred from a socioemotionally depriving Russian institution to domestic families. Results indicated that the postinstitutional (PI) sample as a whole had higher clinical/borderline behavior problem rates on the parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6–18 (T.M. Achenbach & L.A. Rescorla, 2001) aggressive and lower rates on the withdrawn/depressed and internalizing problems scales than did non-institutionalized (non-I) children reared in Russian families. Compared with the U.S. standardization sample, PI children had significantly higher rates for aggressive, externalizing, and social problems; the non-I children had higher rates for withdrawn/depressed and internalizing problems; and both groups had higher rates for rule-breaking behavioral problems. PI children placed in domestic families at 18 months or older had higher rates of problems than did the U.S. non-I standardization sample, but children placed at younger ages did not. PI children transferred to nonbiological families had lower rates of problems compared to U.S. norms than did children transferred to biological families. Thus, prolonged early socioemotional deprivation was associated with a higher percentage of behavior problems in children placed in domestic families, especially if transferred to biological families.

Infant Mental Health Journal Volume 35, Issue 2, March/April 2014, Pages 87–191