Assessing Psychological Risk In Adopted Children
Although such statistics suggest that adoptees manifest a disproportionate rate of psychological problems when compared with their nonadopted counterparts, caution must be maintained in interpreting the data. It is possible that this finding may reflect, in part, differential patterns of referral and differential use of mental health facilities by adoptive parents, as opposed to increased rates of disturbance.13 In fact, a recent study by Warren14 supports this position. When data from a 1981 national health survey of 3,698 adolescents were reanalyzed, Warren found that although adopted teenagers 12 to 17 years of age were more likely to manifest behavior problems than nonadopted youth, they also were more likely to be referred for mental health services, even when displaying relatively minor problems. Thus, as Warren notes, "The results do not support the belief that adoptees appear more often in psychiatric settingpurely [emphasis added] because they are more troubled" (p. 516).
Comparing Adopted and Nonadopted Individuals in Clinical Settings