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18-05-2017 | Uitgave 3/2018 Open Access

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2018

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms in Children Adopted from Poland and their Atypical Association Patterns: a Bayesian Approach

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2018
Donna A. de Maat, Sandra Knuiman, Catharina H. A. M. Rijk, René A. C. Hoksbergen, Anneloes L. van Baar


Although high rates of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms have been observed among internationally adopted children, research on these symptoms in Polish adoptees is lacking. Therefore, we examined ADHD symptoms in Polish adoptees and their relationship to pre-adoptive risk factors, that is, time in institutional care, early deprivation, and prenatal alcohol exposure. We further compared the association patterns and gender distribution of ADHD symptoms in children adopted from Poland to those reported in the literature for ADHD symptoms in non-adopted children. Dutch adoptive parents of 121 Polish adoptees (52% boys; M age = 10.9 years, range 6.2–15.6; M ageadoption = 3.0 years, range 0.8–6.9) completed questionnaires regarding ADHD symptoms, pre-adoptive risk factors, attachment problems, conduct problems, and executive functioning deficits. Bayesian evaluation of informative hypotheses showed that Polish adoptees had increased levels of ADHD symptoms, compared to Dutch children in the general population. Time in institutional care, early deprivation, and prenatal alcohol exposure were not associated with ADHD symptoms. ADHD symptoms in Polish adoptees were more strongly associated with attachment problems and executive functioning deficits, but less strongly with conduct problems, compared to ADHD symptoms in non-adoptees. Furthermore, ADHD symptoms were more equally distributed among boys and girls than they are in non-adopted children. The findings indicate that Polish adoptees and their adoptive parents need special attention and support. The dissimilarities between ADHD symptoms in Polish adoptees and non-adoptees might indicate a different underlying causal mechanism, which may have important implications for clinical practice.

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