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May 25, 2005

International Adoption, Behavior, and Mental Health

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2005;293(20):2533-2535. doi:10.1001/jama.293.20.2533

Adoption has been a part of human culture since earliest recorded times: Moses is perhaps the most famous adopted person in history.1,2 Fascination with adoption pervades literature (from fairy tales and myths to modern novels), psychology, and medicine. Researchers have long studied adoption in attempts to isolate the effects of “nature” and “nurture” on behavioral outcomes and mental health.3 Genetic factors, separation from birth parents, environmental exposures (both prenatal and postnatal), and aspects of the adoptive home environment have all been cited as possible contributors to adverse behavioral and mental health outcomes among adoptees.4

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