Emotional, social and behavioral problems of children aged 10-17 living in out-of-home care in Russia

  • V. Odinokova
  • M. Rusakova
  • N. Usacheva
  • O. Kolpakova


Background: Well-being of children living in residential care institutions (RCI) is a continuing subject of concern in Russia. Despite the importance of this issue for both child welfare policy and developmental theory, studies of the effects of out-of-home placement on older children’s well-being are still limited. This research focuses on influences of caregiving contexts on institutionalized children. Methods: Data were gathered on 494 children aged 10-17 living in 21 RCI in Russia. Self-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used as a measure of emotional, social and behavioral problems in children. Caregiving contexts were measured with the help of specially designed questionnaire. We interviewed children individually and in small groups. Binary logistic regression controlled for age, gender, nationality and city was used to predict SDQ. Findings: Every 5th child (18.8%) has abnormal SDQ score (20-40), and every 5th (19.6%) has borderline SDQ score (16-19). In logistic regression combined abnormal and borderline SDQ score was associated with experience of violence in RCI (AOR = 4.17, 95%CI=1.85 - 9.40), isolation (AOR = 4.30, 95%CI=1.80 - 10.26), low satisfaction with relationship with other children in RCI (AOR = 2.33, 95%CI=1.18 - 4.60) and limited participation in decision-making process (AOR = 2.05, 95%CI=1.08 - 3.86). Discussion: Emotional, social and behavioral problems of children living in RCI were associated with caregiving contexts such as violence, participation and isolation. There is a need for better rights protection and psychosocial support for children in RCI. This research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project № 16-18-10372).
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