Follow-up of Psychiatric and Educational Morbidity among Adopted Children
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to evaluate longitudinally the strength of association between adoptive status and psychiatric and educational morbidity and substance use. METHOD: This study makes use of data from the 1983 Ontario Child Health Study and 1987 follow-up. This community survey of children (4- to 16-years-old in 1983, 8- to 20-years-old in 1987) included a subpopulation of adopted children. The primary outcomes measured were psychiatric disorder, poor school performance, and substance use. RESULTS: Adoption, identified in 1983, in boys was a significant marker for psychiatric disorder in 1987. Adoption was not a significant risk indicator for educational morbidity or substance use in 1987. In the multivariate analyses, adoptive status demonstrated no independent influence on 1987 educational morbidity or substance use. However, adoptive status, in the presence of poor school performance in 1983, was a significant risk indicator for psychiatric disorder in 1987. CONCLUSIONS: Adopted children did not do significantly worse than nonadopted children over time in terms of educational morbidity or substance use, but adopted boys demonstrated a significantly increased risk of psychiatric disorder versus nonadopted boys.
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