Interventions to improve adopted children’s mental and physical health

Adopted children have substantially increased risks of mental and health problems compared to other children. The risks mainly concern children who are internationally adopted. It is important to know if interventions for adopted children are effective in improving mental and physical health. SBU has compiled the scientific literature in the field.

SBU Enquiry Service

Consists of structured literature searches to highlight studies that can address questions received by the SBU Enquiry Service from Swedish healthcare or social service providers. We assess the risk of bias in systematic reviews and when needed also quality and transferability of results in health economic studies. Relevant references are compiled by an SBU staff member, in consultation with an external expert when needed.

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Question

What scientific studies are there on the effects of interventions to to improve adopted children’s mental and physical health?

Identified literature

Table 1. Systematic reviews with low/medium risk of bias.

Included studies Population/Intervention Outcome
Drozd et al. (2017). A systematic review of courses, training and interventions for adoptive parents [1].
10 studies, RCT (6) & quasi-experimental (4),
6 studies were from the USA,
3 from the UK and 1 from the Netherlands.
Parents of adopted children, age 0 -15 years. The interventions included attachment oriented, psychoeducational or videofeedback interventions.
The control group were wait-list or treatment-as-usal controls (5), active control (4), and one none described control group.
Effect:
Eight studies examined intervention effects related to interpersonal functioning; three of which found positive effects. Three studies investigated effects on parenting and stress, respectively, however, only one study demonstrated effects on parenting and none on parental stress.

Adverse effect:
Not reported.
Authors' conclusion: “The results from the included studies does not point in any particular direction. The most consistent finding across studies was the lack of studies on pre-adoption interventions, and poor design and unclear reporting. Future studies should evaluate pre-adopted interventions, and need to use more rigorous design, transparent andcomprehensible reporting, as well as more homogenous interventions and methods, to move the field forward in support of adoptive parents”.

References

Drozd, Bergsund, Bugge, Hammerstrom, Thune, Hansen, Bergum & Jacobsen. A systematic review of courses, training, and interventions for adoptive parents. Journal of child and family studies 2017;2:339-354.

Published: Report no: ut202034 Registration no: SBU 2020/706

Literature search

Interventions for adoptive children and adoptive parents (systematic reviews)

Search terms Items found
The search result, usually found at the end of the documentation, forms the list of abstracts; AB = Abstract; AU = Author; DE = Term from the thesaurus; MM = Major Concept; TI = Title; TX = All Text. Performs a keyword search of all the database's searchable fields; ZC = Methodology Index; * = Truncation; “ “ = Citation Marks; searches for an exact phrase
PsycINFO 200511
1. DE "Adoption (Child)" OR DE "Adoptees" OR DE "International Adoption" OR DE "Interracial Adoption" OR DE "Adopted Children" OR DE "Adoptive Parents" OR TI adoption* OR TI Adoptees OR TI "adopted children" OR TI "adoptive parent*"
Limiters - Publication Year: 2010-2020; Peer Reviewed; Language: Danish, English, Norwegian, Swedish; Methodology: -Systematic Review, META ANALYSIS, METASYNTHESIS
56
SocINDEX 200511
2. DE "ADOPTED children" OR DE "ADOPTEES" OR DE "ADOPTIVE parents" OR DE "ADOPTION" OR DE "CHURCH work with adoptive parents" OR DE "INTERETHNIC adoption" OR DE "INTERNATIONAL adoption" OR DE "INTERRACIAL adoption" OR DE "LGBTQ adoption" OR DE "OLDER child adoption" OR DE "OPEN adoption" OR DE "SECOND parent adoption" OR DE "SINGLE parent adoption" OR DE "SPECIAL needs adoption" OR TI adoption* OR TI Adoptees OR TI "adopted children" OR TI "adoptive parent*" 6291
3. ((systematic W2 synthes*) OR (evidence W2 synthes*) OR (qualitative W2 synthes*) OR (meta W2 synthes*) OR metasyntheses* OR (meta W2 ethnograph*) OR metaethnograph* OR (mega W2 ethnograph*) OR (thematic W2 synthes*) OR "meta-study" OR "meta-summary" OR "critical interpretive syntheses" OR "qualitative cross-case analysis" OR "grounded theory synthesis" OR "meta-interpretation" OR "scoping review" OR "realist review" OR "integrative review*" OR (information W2 synthes*) OR (data W2 synthes*) OR (systematic W2 mapping*) OR (evidence W2 mapping*) OR "mapping review"))
Limiters - Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals; Date of Publication: 20100101-20201231
3207
4. 2 and 3 21
5. TX (systematic* N3 review*) OR TX (metaanaly* OR meta-analy* OR "meta analy*" ) OR TX ((systematic* n3 bibliographic*) OR (systematic* n3 literature) OR (comprehensive* n3 literature) OR (comprehensive* n3 bibliographic*) OR (integrative n3 review) OR (information n2 synthesis) OR (data n2 synthesis) OR (data n2 extract*)) OR JN ("Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews") 70704
6. 2 AND 5
Limiters - Date of Publication: 20100101-20201231; Language: Danish, English, Norwegian, Swedish
225
Medline (EBSCO) 200511
7. (MH "Adoption") OR TI adoption* OR TI Adoptees OR TI "adopted children" OR TI "adoptive parent*" 9379
8. SU ((systematic W2 synthes*) OR (evidence W2 synthes*) OR (meta W2 synthes*) OR metasyntheses* OR (meta W2 ethnograph* OR metaethnograph* OR (mega W2 ethnograph*) OR (thematic W2 synthes*) OR "meta-study" OR "meta-summary" OR "critical interpretive syntheses" OR "qualitative cross-case analysis" OR "grounded theory synthesis" OR "meta-interpretation" OR "scoping review" OR "realist review" OR "integrative review*" OR (information W2 synthes*) OR (data W2 synthes*) OR (systematic W2 mapping*) OR (evidence W2 mapping*) OR "mapping review")) 2280
9. DE "Meta Analysis" OR ZC "systematic review" OR ZC "meta analysis" OR TX (systematic* N3 review*) OR TX (metaanaly* OR meta-analy* OR "meta analy*") OR OR JN ("Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews" 223740
10. 7 AND 8 5
11. 7 AND 9 104
12. 10 OR 11 107

PsycINFO, SocINDEX and Medline via EBSCO 2020

Interventions for adoptive children and adoptive parents (RCT)

The search result, usually found at the end of the documentation, forms the list of abstracts.; AB = Abstract; AU = Author; DE = Term from the thesaurus; MM = Major Concept; TI = Title; TX = All Text. Performs a keyword search of all the atabase's searchable fields; ZC = Methodology Index; * = Truncation; “ “ = Citation Marks; searches for an exact phrase
Search terms Items found
PsycINFO 200622
1. DE "Adoption (Child)" OR DE "Adoptees" OR DE "International Adoption" OR DE "Interracial Adoption" OR DE "Adopted Children" OR DE "Adoptive Parents" OR ( TX adoptions* OR adoptees OR (international* N2 adopt*) OR (children* N2 adopt*) OR (parent** N2 adopt*) OR (famil* N2 adopt*)) 9264
2. ( ZC "treatment outcome/clinical trial" or DE "Clinical Trials" or DE "Placebo" ) OR ( TX((randomi?ed) N3 (study or trial or design or method* or test* or assessment)) or TX((random*) N3 (assign* or alloca*)) or TX((singl* or doubl* or tripl* or trebl*)) N3 (blind* or dumm* or mask*)) or TX(clinical W2 trial*) or TX((singl* or doubl* or treb* or tripl*) W2 (blind* or mask*)) or TX(placebo*) or TX(randomly allocated) or TX(allocated N2 random*) or AB(randomi?ed N6 n=) or TI(controlled W3 trial*) or AB(controlled W3 trial*) ) 180251
3. 1 AND 2 Limiters - Publication Year: 2017-2020 20
SocINDEX 200622
4. DE "ADOPTED children" OR DE "ADOPTEES" OR DE "ADOPTIVE parents" OR DE "ADOPTION" OR DE "CHURCH work with adoptive parents" OR DE "INTERETHNIC adoption" OR DE "INTERNATIONAL adoption" OR DE "INTERRACIAL adoption" OR DE "LGBTQ adoption" OR DE "OLDER child adoption" OR DE "OPEN adoption" OR DE "SECOND parent adoption" OR DE "SINGLE parent adoption" OR DE "SPECIAL needs adoption" OR ( TX adoptions* OR adoptees OR (international* N2 adopt*) OR (children* N2 adopt*) OR (parent** N2 adopt*) OR (famil* N2 adopt*)) 10757
5. ( TX((randomi?ed) N3 (study or trial or design or method* or test* or assessment)) or TX((random*) N3 (assign* or alloca*)) or TX((singl* or doubl* or tripl* or trebl*)) N3 (blind* or dumm* or mask*)) or TX(clinical W2 trial*) or TX((singl* or doubl* or treb* or tripl*) W2 (blind* or mask*)) or TX(placebo*) or TX(randomly allocated) or TX(allocated N2 random*) or AB(randomi?ed N6 n=) or TI(controlled W3 trial*) or AB(controlled W3 trial*) ) 66364
6. 4 AND 5 Limiters - Date of Publication: 20170101-20201231 62
Medline (EBSCO) 200622
7. (MH "Adoption") OR ( TX adoptions* OR adoptees OR (international* N2 adopt*) OR (children* N2 adopt*) OR (parent** N2 adopt*) OR (famil* N2 adopt*)) 8347
8. 7 Limiters - Date of Publication: 20170101-20201231; Clinical Queries: Therapy - Best Balance 18
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