Neurodevelopmental problems in adopted maltreated children referred with indiscriminate friendliness

Eva Kocovska, Christine Puckering, M Follan, M Smillie, C. Gorski, J. Barnes, Philip Wilson, D Young, E Lidstone, Rachel Pritchett , H Hockaday, Helen Minnis

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We aimed to explore the extent of neurodevelopmental difficulties in severely maltreated adopted children. We recruited 34 adopted children, referred with symptoms of indiscriminate friendliness and a history of severe maltreatment in their early childhood and 32 typically developing comparison children without such a history, living in biological families. All 66 children, aged 5–12 years, underwent a detailed neuropsychiatric assessment. The overwhelming majority of the adopted/indiscriminately friendly group had a range of psychiatric diagnoses, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and one third exhibited the disorganised pattern of attachment. The mean IQ was 15 points lower than the comparison group and the majority of the adopted group had suspected language disorder and/or delay. Our findings show that school-aged adopted children with a history of severe maltreatment can have very complex and sometimes disabling neuropsychiatric problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1560-1565
Number of pages6
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number5
Early online date21 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • child maltreatment
  • child psychiatry
  • neurodevelopment
  • reactive attachment disorder


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