Features Of Mental Development In Children Of Indigenous Inhabitants Of Khabarovsk Territory


The article is devoted to the study of the mental state of children of the indigenous population of Khabarovsk Territory. Today, the issue of the state of mental health of the small-numbered peoples of the North remains relevant, due to the multinational composition of the population of our country. An increase in the number of various disorders in the field of mental health among children and adolescents has been revealed. In connection with this, there are problems in adaptation, the severity of socialization disorders, which further impede their adaptation in modern society. The prevalence of various forms of mental disorders in children is higher than that in the adult population. The main features of the upbringing of children in families and boarding schools are touched upon. The problems of the consequences of deprivation situations of raising children in state boarding-type institutions are considered. Unfavorable living conditions of children in the family and the impact of maternal deprivation in social institutions, which have various negative effects on the development of the regulatory, cognitive and emotional-personal sphere of children. In this regard, the need for the development of programs in order to create favorable conditions for improving social functioning, life, learning and development is justified.

Keywords: Deprivation, depression, mental development, indigenous people of Khabarovsk Territory, socialization


The search for the correlation between the state of mental health of people and their nationality, cultural and religious traditions, the social situation in society is one of the most urgent tasks of modern psychiatry (Golubeva & Kozlovskaya, 2012). The significance of ethnocultural approach in domestic psychiatry is due to the multinational composition of the country's population consisting of more than 150 peoples, representing 19 ethnic groups.

Problem Statement

The ethnic composition of Khabarovsk Territory is dominated by Russians. The indigenous population is represented by the small peoples of the North. These are Nanai, Nivkhs, Evenks, Ulchi, Evens, Orochi, Udege and Negidals. The share of indigenous peoples in the northern regions ranges from 20 to 50 %.

In Khabarovsk Territory, the total population at the beginning of 2017 decreased by 0.05 % and amounted to 1,333,294 people. In terms of the number of inhabitants, it is 0.92 % of the population of the Russian Federation and 21.6 % of the population of the Far Eastern Federal District. The reproductive health of the population has deteriorated significantly: 15-20 % of married couples are infertile. Almost 80 % of expectant mothers have health abnormalities during the periods of conception, gestation and birth (Ramadas & Kumar, 2016).

In recent years, the growth of personality anomalies and mental disorders among the younger generation of the Russian Federation poses a serious threat to the future of the country, its national security (Antigova & Fedorova, 2006).

At present, psychiatric, psychological and psychotherapeutic aspects of orphanhood, homelessness and pedagogical neglect are of great scientific and practical importance in the framework of socially-conditioned pathology. Various types of mental pathology (behavioral, cognitive and depressive disorders, addictive behavior) that are identified can lead to the formation of deviant forms of behavior (Baryl'nik, 2005). In 80 % of cases, academic failure is associated with the onset of cognitive impairment, including mental retardation (Antigova & Fedorova, 2006).

Research Questions

The studies conducted by the Research Institute of Maternity and Childhood Protection in Khabarovsk (Galich, 2011) revealed objective differences in the state of the somatic sphere, as well as the immune system in the children of the indigenous peoples of the North. Moreover, there are references and indications that mental health disorders with the predominance of residual exogenous organic pathology are observed in 47 % of the examined children (Uchakina et al., 2009), but no professional study of mental disorders in children under conditions of deprivation has been carried out. There are no longitudinal studies of the mental health of the child population, which is a highly relevant and extremely significant research area.

In the context of instability at all levels of modern Russian society, the number of children and adolescents being brought up under conditions of family deprivation is constantly growing. By 2010, there were 820 thousand children without parental care in Russia, and 90 % of them are "social" orphans, that is, orphans with living parents who have abandoned a child, or have been deprived of parental rights on the basis of alcoholism or drug addiction, disabled by illness, imprisoned, sold housing and left children homeless. According to the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation and the State Statistics Service from 2010 to 2015 the number of children and adolescents left without parental care has increased by 1.2 times and continues to grow (Federal State Statistics Service, 2019).

Thus, knowledge of the peculiarities of the mental development of children in conditions of social deprivation is especially important at the present time, when the number of children and adolescents – social orphans who are brought up in boarding-type educational institutions – has increased.

In psychology, there are numerous works that describe specific psychopathological disorders of family-deprived children, caused by both endogenous and exogenous factors (Esser et al., 2007; Giannopoulou, 2012; Golubeva & Kozlovskaya, 2012). According to the research, such children have a slow rate of mental development, there are a number of negative features, such as a lower level of intellectual development compared to their peers living in families, a much poorer and flattened personal and emotional sphere, difficult formation of self-regulation skills and correct behavior; in the mental and physical status of the majority of children in orphanages, there are various pathological abnormalities.

The important role in the formation of mental disorders of childhood is played by deprivation. Langmeyer and Mateichik (2006) introduced the concept of mental deprivation, which is defined as a mental state resulting from life situations in which the subject is not given the opportunity to satisfy basic mental needs sufficiently and for a long time. Deprivation (from Lat. Deprivatio – loss, deprivation) is a mental state, the occurrence of which is due to the vital activity of an individual in conditions of prolonged deprivation or a significant limitation of the ability to satisfy his vital needs. In the theory of mental deprivation, at least four types of deprivation are identified: emotional, social, sensory, and cognitive. Yarrow (1979) described various variants of deprivation situations – maternal, sensory, social, and emotional deprivation, and emphasized the possibility of their combined impact on children brought up in state residential institutions or in families where the mother does not raise the child, rejecting it.

Evidence was obtained that impaired socialization in early childhood leads to significant deviations in the psychosocial development of the child. At the same time, in assessing the family factor, the leading importance is attached to the factor of maternal emotional deprivation (Zababurina & Pomogaeva, 2015).

The consequences of deprivation situations for the mental development of a child are determined by at least one more factor – age; the younger the child, the more he depends on the conditions in which he lives (Yaroslavtseva, 2013; Zababurina & Pomogaeva, 2015).

The health of young children is largely determined by the influence of biological, psychophysiological and social factors with their unequal dominant significance in different age periods. According to various authors, children brought up in an orphanage differ from family children in terms of qualitative and quantitative indicators of mental development. Early parental attachment affects the ability of a child at school and older age to adequately socialize, acquire the correct stereotypes of behavior (Kozlov et al., 2005).

According to Makeenko (2010), in the orphanage, 70 % of adolescents are characterized by manifestations of aggression. The greater aggressiveness of adolescents in conditions of social deprivation, in comparison with adolescents living in families, is combined with their greater introversion (Dowswell & Towner, 2002) and higher anxiety (Filippova, 2010).

The peculiarities of the mental state of children, arising in conditions of parental deprivation, should generally be defined as the “orphanhood syndrome”. It is characterized not only by manifestations of social isolation, but also by insufficient development of the affective side of the personality, delay or distortion of the formation of mental functions and disorders of the personality structure (Filippova et al., 2017). A key explanatory mechanism in understanding early-life mental deprivation in recent years is the concept of mother-child relationships. The loss of long-term emotionally saturated connections in this system due to separation from the mother at an early age can lead to a child's deprivation dysontogenetic development, and serve as a ground for the formation of behavioral disorders (Shabalina, 2011). In preschool age, the leading role in the socialization of the child, in addition to the relationship with the mother, is the family (Zaitseva, 2015). Maladaptive behavioral reactions in preschool age are caused by psychogenic disorders that occur when the child's emerging personality collides with conflicting and insurmountable family circumstances (Butorin & Benko, 2017).

One of the urgent problems is the study of the consequences of the deprivation situation of raising children in state institutions of the boarding type (Galich, 2011). Children brought up in orphanages are exposed to chronic psychotraumatic effects, psychogenic reactions are not clearly expressed, but repeated, and have a deep negative impact on the child and lead over time to personal changes and the formation of persistent psychogenic disorders.

Purpose of the Study

For children in orphanages, it is important to diagnose the consequences of socio-cultural deprivation. The development of methods for the prevention and correction of behavioral disorders in children and adolescents, especially in residential institutions, is a serious problem that has a multidisciplinary nature and requires increased attention from various state, legal and scientific institutions.

Research Methods

The information was based on the official data of the Khabarovsk Territory population state, as well as the scientific researches of the issues made by foreign scientists. The statistical methods of comparative and systemic analyses were used.


The tendency of scientific researches devoted to the problem of the deprivation disorders clinics in children is relevant and requires further systematic detailed analyses of the specific deprivation situations.

Despite a significant number of works on the problem of mental disorders in minors, many theoretical and practical aspects of this problem remain insufficiently examined, the others are controversial. In particular it concerns the prevalence of mental disorders among minor-indigenous residents of the Khabarovsk Territory, their clinical structure among certain contingents of minors brought up in a situation of early socialization disorder.

Mental disorders developing under the influence of an early onset and long-term deprivation situation have not been sufficiently studied in this contingent of children. The role of the age factor, the pathogenetic role of psychogenic-environmental and biological (residual-organic) factors that determine deviations in mental development are not clearly defined.

There is no data on the cumulative contribution of these factors to the formation and prognosis of the identified violations. The systematics of mental disorders in this category of minors is essential for solving social and preventive, correctional and rehabilitation tasks.


Further study of the peculiarities of mental health of children of the indigenous population of Khabarovsk Territory will provide an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the causes and mechanisms of the development of mental disorders, and the use of ethno-cultural approaches will improve the effectiveness of diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of mental disorders, develop a model for organizing psychiatric care for minors in the region, and increase the level of public and individual mental health.


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31 January 2022

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Gevorkyan, S. G., Baryl'nik, Y. B., & Timralyaev, R. A. (2022). Features Of Mental Development In Children Of Indigenous Inhabitants Of Khabarovsk Territory. In S. Afanasyev, A. Blinov, & N. Kovaleva (Eds.), State and Law in the Context of Modern Challenges, vol 122. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 220-225). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.01.36