Internalizing Problems in Adopted Eastern European Adolescents: The Role of the Informant, Early Adversity and Post-Adoption Processes

Pablo Carrera, Maite Román, Isabel Cáceres, Jesús Palacios

Internationally adopted children who suffered early institutionalization are at risk of a late onset of internalizing problems in adolescence. Both pre-adoption, adversity-related, and post-adoption factors predict variability in internalizing problems in this population.

Previous studies have suggested different patterns of parent adolescent informant discrepancies in adoptive dyads.


The authors analyzed internalizing problems among 66 adolescents internationally adopted from Russia to Spanish families using both the parent- and self-report version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and comparing them with a low-risk, community group (n = 30). They assessed pre-adoption and post-adoption factors and evaluated cross-informant discrepancies. Results: Internationally adopted adolescents exhibited more internalizing problems by parent-report than community adolescents, but there were no differences by self-report. Adopted youth showed no discrepancies between parent and self-report, whereas community adolescents reported more internalizing symptoms than their parents.

Pre-adoption adversity-related factors predicted parent-reported internalizing problems, while post-adoption factors predicted self-reported internalizing problems.


Parent-adolescent informant discrepancies in adopted adolescents from Eastern Europe for internalizing symptoms were lower than in community adolescents. Both adversity-related factors and the lived experience of adoption may influence the development of internalizing symptoms in internationally adopted adolescents.