The effect of early institutionalization on resolution of Erikson's psychosocial development, the conflictbetween industry and inferiority in school-age children

The aim of this paper was to find out whether institutional upbringing in the preschool period has any influence on the development of competencies, learning and socialization during school age, and how it affects a child's self-esteem and mental health. Location of research, methods and sample: The research took place at two orphanages in Bosnia and Herzegovina, functioning on the orphanage-family principle. The sample consists of 30 institutionalized children (Group A) aged between 8 and 12 and the control (Group B) consisted of 60 children of both genders, aged between 8 and 12, living within their biological family units and who were taken into the sample by random selection after visits to five different elementary schools in the town of Tuzla. In this research we used a socio-demographic survey and a self-esteem assessment survey, on mental health and relationships between the children and their environment. The Results: The Group A sample had a statistically lower grade point average at the end of each school year, showed less interest in maths and Bosnian language in comparison with the control, Group B. We did not find any statistically significant differences in the areas of art and topics involving more creativity, physical education and religion. Based on the results of the self-esteem assessment survey we found that the children in Group A, aged between 8 and 10 years had significantly lower self-estimate of their talents and skills and mental functions, whereas the older portion of the sample showed differences in all elements of the assessment, physical appearance, talent and skills, mental functions and relationships with others. Conclusion: The results of this study show that institutionalized children are particularly vulnerable and a risk prone group in need of a multi-disciplinary approach and action. Stronger psycho-pedagogical support and strengthening of personal and environmental potentials are essential for building and sustaining motivation and self-esteem, increasing social competencies of institutionalized children and their prosperous psycho-social adjustment.
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 50, No 2, april - june 2006
Authors: M. Remetić, H. Tahirović, S. Loga
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