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18-12-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2018

Development, Social-Emotional Behavior and Resilience of Orphaned Children in a Family-Oriented Setting

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2018
Berhanu N. Worku, Teklu G. Abessa, Evelien Franssen, Marleen Vanvuchelen, Patrick Kolsteren, Marita Granitzer
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-017-0908-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


SOS children’s villages take care of orphaned or abandoned children who are likely to suffer from multiple psychosocial problems. Nevertheless, much is not known about the developmental, social-emotional, nutritional and resilience status of young SOS children (SOSc) living in poor settings of developing countries such as Ethiopia. The present study examined the developmental, social-emotional, nutritional and resilience status of SOSc in Jimma town of Ethiopia. In total, we selected 62 children (3.5–71.8 months of age; 32 boys and 30 girls) and tested for their personal-social, language, fine and gross motor development with the culturally adapted and standardized developmental screening tool, Denver II-Jimma; and their social-emotional behavior with the ages and stages questionnaire: social-emotional (ASQ:SE). We compared their outcomes to 62 age- and sex- matched family-reared children. To estimate the nutritional status of all children, we followed the WHO child growth standards. We used an interview guide to investigate resilience of the children. SOSc performed significantly poorer on language (p < 0.001, effect size (es) = 0.957), gross motor (p < 0.001, es = 0.879) and social-emotional (p < 0.001, es = 1.220) outcomes. Twenty-two (35.5%) of SOSc were undernourished and 17 (77.30%) of them were stunted. SOSc demonstrated resilient behavior, and child, SOS family and community characteristics were the major protective factors which enabled them to thrive in spite of the loss of their parents. Early intervention focusing on language, gross motor and social-emotional skills may be particularly beneficial to support children in SOS villages.

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