The number of children adopted into the United States internationally has increased dramatically over the last two decades, with many of these children experiencing institutional care prior to adoption. Problems associated with early institutional care include inattention, deficits in inhibitory control, and insecure attachments. Although rapid gains are seen in some areas, many problems persist. It is critical that interventions be developed that address the specific issues faced by these children and their parents. Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up for Children Adopted Internationally (ABC-I) is a 10 session parent training program designed to enhance children's ability to regulate attention, behavior, and physiology, and develop secure, organized attachments to their parents. The proposed study will examine the effectiveness of this intervention through a randomized control design. Initially 220 young children who have lived in institutional care prior to adoption will be enrolled in the study. They will be randomly assigned to the ABC-I intervention or to a control intervention. At least 180 children will be assessed in various contexts annually until they are 4-years- old. Children's ability to regulate attention, behavior, and physiology will be assessed throughout the study period. Children in the ABC-I intervention are expected to show fewer problems with inattention, better inhibitory control, more secure attachments, more normative patterns of hormone production, and lower incidence of diagnosed behavior disorders, than children in the control intervention.

Public Health Relevance

Young children who are adopted after living in institutional care are at increased risk for a range of psychiatric and behavioral disorders, but there are few evidence-based treatment programs that address such problems. The preventive intervention assessed in this study targets issues that have been identified as particularly problematic for these children.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01MH084135-05
Application #
8391761
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Goldstein, Amy B
Project Start
2009-01-01
Project End
2014-11-30
Budget Start
2012-12-01
Budget End
2014-11-30
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$570,656
Indirect Cost
$197,678
Name
University of Delaware
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
059007500
City
Newark
State
DE
Country
United States
Zip Code
19716
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Bernard, Kristin; Meade, E B; Dozier, Mary (2013) Parental synchrony and nurturance as targets in an attachment based intervention: building upon Mary Ainsworth's insights about mother-infant interaction. Attach Hum Dev 15:507-23
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Green, Bonnie L; Kaltman, Stacey I; Chung, Joyce Y et al. (2012) Attachment and health care relationships in low-income women with trauma histories: a qualitative study. J Trauma Dissociation 13:190-208

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