Vulnerability and resilience after early institutional care: The Greek Metera study.


The aim of the study was to examine possible influences on individual differences in adolescence in response to early institutional care in infancy not involving either generalized privation or subnutrition. Fifty-two adopted adolescents aged 13 years who received institutional care in infancy at the Metera Babies Centre and 36 adolescents of the same age who were raised in their biological families participated in the study. Adolescents’ attachment relationships, cognition, behavioral adjustment and use of psychological services were assessed. Marked heterogeneity in outcomes was found. No predictive effects were found for preinstitutional features or for adoptive circumstances. By contrast a large effect was found for institutional care extending beyond the age of 2 years and for quality of institutional care as experienced at an individual level. There was a close association between prolonged institutional care and disorganized attachment while in the institution, but the main institutional effect derived from the length of time in the institution.