1963 Adoption Studies
ADOPTED CHILDREN DISABILITIES.
Michael Humphrey and Christopher Ounsted.
Michael Humphrey, M.A. B.Sc Principal Clinical Psychologist. Warneford and Park Hospitals.
Christopher Ounsted. D.M.,D.C.H., D.P.M., Consultant-in Charge Park Hospital for Children.
In a control group of 41 early age adoptees they distinguished the following symptoms. Emotional reactions (tantrums, negativism, jealousy). Enuresis, anxiety, disturbed social behaviour, aggression, withdrawl, stealing, cruelty, destructiveness, lying and encopresis.
They were impressed with finding out that one in two children adopted late had been stealing as compared to one in four children adopted at an early age. The action appeared in several cases to be expressly directed at the adoptive mother, either from a sense of rejection (in some cases well founded) or as an appeal for more individual attention. Sometimes the money would be spent on presents for friends in the hope of gaining popularity. Some of these children have stolen compulsively over a long period with no sign of remorse.
In a paper submitted to the Childrens Bureau, US Department of Health Aug 1963.
The factor of adoption played a consistently important role in the genesis and perpetuation of the given symptom picture. Two major hypotheses were suggested for the higher incidence of psychological disturbances in the adoptee. Firstly the adoptee may intra-physically continue a split between good and bad in his infantile object relations, since in reality he has two sets of parents. Secondly, the adoptive parent is often confused in his or her role due to unconscious guilts and hostilities and tends to project this disturbance backward into the heredity of the child i.e. the natural parents.
Phipps(1953) mentioned the tendency of parents to speak about the heredity of the child as the major causative factor in behavioural difficulties.
Lemon E.M. (1959) referred to the difficulty that the adopted individual has in dealing with communication concerning his adopted status with a resulting tendency to weave factual material together with much fantasied material in his thoughts as he seeks his natural parents.
They went on to say that these patients perceived their adoptive parents as inadequate especially with the setting of limits and viewed their natural parents as their adequate set of parents.