Adopted child syndrome

Adopted child syndrome is a controversial term that has been used to explain behaviors in adopted children that are claimed to be related to their adoptive status. Specifically, these include problems in bonding, attachment disorders, lying, stealing, defiance of authority, and acts of violence. The term has never achieved acceptance in the professional community. The term is not found in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition, TR.

History of the termEdit

David Kirschner, who coined the term, says that most adoptees are not disturbed and that the syndrome only applies to "a small clinical subgroup".[1]

Researchers Brodizinsky, Schechter, and Henig[2] find that in a review of the literature, generally children adopted before the age of six-months fare no differently than children raised with their biological parents. Later problems that develop among children adopted from the child welfare system at an older age are usually associated with the effects of chronic early maltreatment in the caregiving relationship; abuse and neglect.

Psychologist Betty Jean Lifton, herself an adopted person, has written extensively on psychopathology in adopted people, primarily in Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience, and Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness and briefly discusses Adopted child syndrome.[1][3][4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Lifton, Betty Jean (1975). Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. Dial Press. pp. 274–275. ISBN 0-06-097132-0.
  2. ^ Brodzinsky, David M.; Marshall D. Schecter; Robin Marantz Henig (1993). Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self. Anchor Books. ISBN 0-385-41426-9.
  3. ^ Lifton, Betty Jean (1994). Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-03675-9. Archived from the original on 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2007-02-02. Adopted Child Syndrome page, including bibliography
  4. ^ Smith, Jerome. "The Adopted Child Syndrome: A Methodological Perspective" Families in Society 82 no5 491-7 S/O 2001

External linksEdit