Features of Cognitive Strategies and Emotional Problems of Orphaned and Abandonen Teenagers who Live in Instutions, and Teenagers who Live with a Parent (Parents)

Kristina Samašonok, Rita Žukauskienė, Vytautas Gudonis


The paper deals with theoretical aspects of the factors determining the lack of prosocial behaviour of children who live in institutions and domination of dysfunctional (non-adaptive) cognitive and behavioural strategies. The aim of this investigation was to determine peculiarities and differences of cognitive, behavioural strategies and emotional problems of orphaned and abandoned children and children living with a parent (parents). 11-17 year old teenagers living in institutions (n=215) and living with a parent (parents) (n=223) took part in the investigation. Youth Self Report (YSR 11/18; Youth Self Report, Achenbach, 1991) was used to assess behavioural and emotional problems. Strategy and Attribution Questionnaire (SAQ: Strategy and Attribution Questionnaire, Nurmi, Salmela – Aro, Haavisto, 1995) was used to evaluate cognitive and behavioural strategies of teenagers determining strategies in achievement and social contexts.
The results have shown that orphaned/abandoned children could be characterized as having higher levels of depression/anxiety, social and withdrawal problems, aggressive and delinquent behavioural than children living with parents. The results have also shown that such children more often employ dysfunctional and behavioural strategies: they less often seek for social support, try to avoid social situations, feel anxious and hope for successful communication. Abandoned children also employ behavioural methods that prevent them from communication. The investigation also showed that children living with both parents more often hope for success and are not anxious about failures that can emerge while implementing the goals, they also spend more time on analyzing different decisions connected with difficulties and more often employ tasksolving strategies in winning and social contexts, than functional (adaptive) strategies that are employed by orphaned/abandoned children.
The investigation also showed, that it is possible to foresee the features of behavioural and emotional problems of children regardless living conditions, on the basis of some cognitive and behavioural strategies. It was found, that adaptive strategies (hope for success, task-solving in social contexts and hope for success in communication contexts) and non adaptive strategies (self interruption, social avoidance and pessimism in communication contexts) employed by abandoned/orphaned children are connected with anxiety, dissociation, features of social and attention problems, and also with aggressive and delinquent behaviour. On the basis of adaptive (hope for success, social support, reflexive thinking in hope for success social context) and non adaptive strategies (winning situations in tasks not connected with behaviour and self interruption, social avoidance and social pessimistic context) of children living with parents, features of behavioural and emotional problems can be foreseen.
Dysfunctional (non adaptive) cognitive and behavioural strategies employed by abandoned children and better seen emotional and behavioural strategies can be connected with negative early experience, lack of example of prosocial behavioural of parents, lack of social experience and living in foster houses.


orphaned and abandoned children; functional (adaptive) and dysfunctional (non adaptive) cognitive and behavioural strategies; behavioural and emotional problems

Full Text:

PDF (Lietuvių)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789