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Foster Care Quality Linked to Hyperactive Youths' Progress

Study finds number of foster care moves also affects behavior of children with ADHD

MONDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The degrees of parental warmth and hostility, as well as the number of foster-care moves, affect the progression of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity among children placed in foster care, according to a study published online Feb. 1 in Pediatrics.

L. Oriana Linares, Ph.D., of the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues conducted a study of 252 maltreated children placed with 95 families. They gathered data from biological parents, foster parents and classroom teachers regarding parental warmth and hostility and the stability of placement, as well as the progress of symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The odds of higher inattention were greater among children who experienced less warmth and more hostility from their parents, the researchers found. These two factors were also associated with higher hyperactivity, as were a higher average number of moves and discharge from care, the investigators note.

"The results of this study advance the current knowledge of family variables that affect the course of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms in foster care," the authors write. "These data offer an emerging clinical picture of risk for symptom types under the unique caregiving conditions of foster placement. The identification of parental quality and placement stability as malleable factors points to intervention goals for promoting child psychological well-being in the foster care system."

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