PURPOSE: There is very little data available on adaptation at adolescence after "visible adoptions" (children adopted from abroad), in terms of mental health, risk-taking and problem behaviour in comparison with nonadopted adolescents. This study describes such an outcome. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Data derived from self-reports from 125 adolescents aged 13-18 years who identified themselves as adopted, and who participated in two epidemiological surveys of 9329 adolescents. Their number was representative for children adopted from abroad. The other adolescents served as controls. RESULTS: Family life styles showed no differences between groups. Health was similar to that of the controls. Foreign adopted adolescents significantly often evaluated themselves as shorter and with early puberty. The proportion of adopted girls with suicidal thoughts was significantly larger, they also reported school truancy, not using safety belts, sexual intercourse, unpleasant sexual encounters, and contact with illicit drugs more often than the controls. The stress of early puberty could only partly explain this. CONCLUSIONS: Girls adopted from abroad, representing "visible adoptions", need additional attention and study during adolescence to expose causes for maladaption among some of them.
Faculty of Education, P.O. Box 2000, 90014, University of Oulu, Finland; University of Oulu, Department of Psychiatry, Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, University of Oulu, Finland. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Children and adolescents with a genetic risk for schizophrenia are often found to have poorer social functioning compared to their controls. However, less is known about high-risk offspring who have not been reared by a biological parent with schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to examine deficits in social functioning in adolescence as a possible factor related to genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and also to examine possible gender differences in these associations.
The present sample consisted of 88 genetic high-risk (HR) adoptees whose biological mothers were diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and 83 genetic low-risk (LR) adoptees with biological mothers with non-schizophrenia spectrum disorders or no psychiatric disorders. Adoptees' social functioning at ages 16-20 was assessed using the UCLA Social Attainment Survey.
Compared to LR adoptees, HR adoptees displayed statistically significant deficits in their peer relationships, involvement in activities and overall social functioning during adolescence. HR males were distinguished from LR males by their significantly poorer overall social functioning. Compared to HR females, HR males showed significant deficits in their romantic relationships. Of marginal significance was that HR females displayed more social functioning deficits relative to LR females, mainly in the areas of peer relationships, involvement in activities and overall social functioning.
These results from the adoption and high-risk study design suggest that deficits in social functioning in adolescence may be related to genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia spectrum disorders and that some of these deficits may be gender-specific.