The impact of early institutional care on emotion regulation: studying the play narratives of post-institutionalized and early adopted children

With access to a unique sample of post-institutionalized Hungarian children, this study focused on the hypothesis that children who had been institutionalized for at least six months after birth have less developed capacities for emotion regulation; 90 children, aged 4-6, were placed in 1 of 3 groups: (1) children who had been institutionalized straight after birth and were adopted from institutional care after the age of 6 months; (2) children adopted within 6 weeks of birth; and (3) children raised by their biological parents. Emotion regulation was assessed in a pretend-play context using the MacArthur Story Stem Batteries by analysing play narratives. Our results supported the hypothesis that early institutional care results in less developed capacities for emotion regulation. Results also indicated that early adopted children’s emotion regulation abilities also show some developmental delays when compared to those of children raised in birth families. © 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

With access to a unique sample of post-institutionalized Hungarian children, this study focused on the hypothesis that children who had been institutionalized for at least six months after birth have less developed capacities for emotion regulation; 90 children, aged 4-6, were placed in 1 of 3 groups: (1) children who had been institutionalized straight after birth and were adopted from institutional care after the age of 6 months; (2) children adopted within 6 weeks of birth; and (3) children raised by their biological parents. Emotion regulation was assessed in a pretend-play context using the MacArthur Story Stem Batteries by analysing play narratives. Our results supported the hypothesis that early institutional care results in less developed capacities for emotion regulation. Results also indicated that early adopted children’s emotion regulation abilities also show some developmental delays when compared to those of children raised in birth families. © 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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