Doctoral candidate, colleagues publish in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Camelia Hostinar, doctoral candidate in the Institute of Child Development, is first author on an article on the associations between early life adversity and executive function in children adopted internationally from orphanages, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). PNAS is one of the most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials, publishing cutting-edge research reports.
Executive functions -- the abilities needed to regulate one's thinking, behavior, and emotion -- are increasingly recognized as critical for children's social and academic adjustment. This study used age-appropriate tasks to measure differences in executive functions between two groups of 2.5-4-year-old toddlers. The group who spent the first years of life in orphanages overseas performed significantly lower one year after adoption compared to a non-adopted comparison group, even after accounting for their differences in IQ. This is the youngest age at which executive function impairments of post-institutionalized children have been shown in a controlled laboratory setting.
Hostinar published the article with ICD colleagues Sarah Stellern, doctoral student, Catherine Schaefer, research associate, Stephanie Carlson, associate professor, and Megan Gunnar, Regents Professor and director of ICD.
Hostinar, C. E., Stellern, S. A., Schaefer, C., Carlson, S. M., & Gunnar, M. R. (2012). Biological Embedding of Early Social Adversity: From Fruit Flies to Kindergartners Sackler Colloquium: Associations between early life adversity and executive function in children adopted internationally from orphanages. PNAS 2012; published ahead of print October 9, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1121246109