The main objective of this study was to assess the developmental status of children living in the severely adverse environment of institutional care and the examination of risk factors with regard to developmental status, including degree of stunting and emotional–behavioral and anemia status. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development were used to assess development status in 103 children aged 14.9 months (SD = 6.8) in six Kazakh institutions. The Behavioral Rating Scales were used to assess emotional–behavioral regulation. Physical growth measures were converted to z scores using World Health Organization growth charts. Venous blood was collected for assessment of anemia. Our findings indicated that young children in institutions were developmentally compromised, with duration of institutional care correlated with the severity of delay. Negative predictors of developmental status included: Poor emotional–behavioral regulation, degree of stunting and age at assessment. A particularly large percentage of children were found to be anemic. Additionally, low birth weight was found to be a significant negative predictor of development. Our findings indicate that institutional care has a detrimental impact on the development and emotional regulation of young children. Time in institutional care is a negative predictor for cognitive status for children placed at birth. Moreover stunting was found to be a useful indicator of the degree of impact of early adversity on cognitive development. Particular attention is needed for special-needs children such as those with low birth weight, since their development was found to be more sensitive to early adversity than that of normal birth weight children.
- Institutional care