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Characteristics of Caregiving Environment in Institutions for Infants Left without Parental Care

Scientific organization
Saint Petersburg State University
Academic degree
PhD in psychology
Fellow researcher
Scientific discipline
Life Sciences & Medicine
Characteristics of Caregiving Environment in Institutions for Infants Left without Parental Care
The report will focus on various aspects of social environment to which children growing up without parental care are exposed in specialized institutions in the Russian Federation.
institutionalization, orphanage, caregiving environment

Child development is highly dependent on the numerous environmental contexts in which it unfolds, first and foremost, the family environment and, especially, specific facets of childcare and social interactions. According to the attachment theory (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, Wall, 1974; Bowlby, 1958, 1969) and the concept of subjective experience development in infancy (Stern, 1985) children need sensitive and responsive caregiver-child interactions with a consistently available caregiver. Institutionalized children experience a lack of opportunity to interact with a caregiver, and their rearing environment is not supportive, sensitive and stable (McCall et al., 2016; The St. Petersburg - USA Orphanage Research Team, 2005; van IJezendoorn et al., 2011). Moreover, research coalesces on the proposition that the quality of child-caregiver interaction has a stronger effect on child development than nutrition, sanitation and medical care (McCall, 2011; Rutter & Strufe, 2000). Unfortunately, there is a lack of studies to date focused on the relation between the quality of primary environment and the individual developmental trajectory of institutionalized children.

The aim of the current research is to study characteristics of care and social environment for children in institutional care, in different institutional caregiving environments, in order to better understand the complex role of various social environments in the bio-behavioral (behavioral, neurophysiologic and epigenetic) development of children in infancy and early childhood.

This research was supported by grant from Government of Russian Federation #14.Z50.31.0027.