ADOPTION AND PRENATAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG EXPOSURE
Without consideration of the developmental process itself and the many factors which are known to affect it, it may be difficult to understand why such various outcomes have been observed among [substance] exposed children.
Coles and Platzman 1993.
Genetic and Environmental Influences (Cadoret 1996, 1995a, 1995b)
Some Key Findings:
Attachment Issues (Dozier, Stovall, & Alubs 1997)
- Genetic and environmental effects are both significant in the origins of alcoholism.
- There is a significantly higher incidence of depression in adoptees whose biological parents displayed affective disorders.
- There is a significant correlation of antisocial diagnosis in adult adoptees with a biological parent diagnosis of antisocial personality or behavior.
- Three causal relationships are identified with drug abuse:
- drug abuse is highly correlated with antisocial personality;
- a biological background of alcohol problems predicts increased drug abuse in adoptees who did not have antisocial personalities; and
- environmental factors of divorce and psychiatric disturbances in the adoptive family are associated with increased drug use.
- Biological family alcohol-related problems and the environmental factor of alcohol-related problems in the adoptive family predict increased adoptee alcohol abuse.
A key area of concern is promoting optimal opportunities for attachment for children who are prenatally exposed to drugs and alcohol and who have been in foster care since an early age. Dozier's research suggests that:
- Infants in foster care do demonstrate the ability to attach to caregivers;
- Age at time of placement appears to be related to the capacity to attach; and
- The sensitivity of the caregiver [foster parent or adoptive parent] is important to facilitating attachment.
PRENATAL SUBSTANCE EXPOSURE
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