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Emilio Aguinaldo College – Manila

1113-1117 San Marcelino St. Paco, Manila 1000
Senior High School Department

The Emotional, Academic, Cognitive

and Social Condition of Orphans in
Asilo De San Vicente De Paul: A Case


1. Checa, Amron Elijah R.
2. Advincula, Frances Domine
3. Bana, Zyre Ashtene
4. Bonifacio, Kurt Axl
5. Oriel, Sheryl Jhane

Emilio Aguinaldo College - Manila

Senior High School Department


1.1. Background of the Study

Statistics for 2016 shows that there are 1.8M orphans in the Philippines. The Department of

Social Welfare and Development is responsible for ensuring that many of these children find

homes. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is responsible for ensuring that

many of these children find homes. Considering their situation, it is apparent that they might

have been deprived not just the parents’ care, but also the natural way of the development of a

child’s mental and psychosocial health. After all, studies do say that failure to provide the kind of

care they need is a tendency that they will have personality disorders. These disorders and

uncommon development vary from the environmental condition of the person, especially in their

childhood when they still have no knowledge about the world.

According to an expert committee of the World Health Organization (1977), the factors

that influence a child's psychosocial development include: biological factors, cognitive factors,

ecological and social factors, patterns of upbringing, ameliorating influences and factors that lead

to a positive development. The biological factors pertain to the individual differences already

observed from birth, onwards. These differences comprise the children’s temperamental

characteristics, sex, physical appearance and rate of development. WHO Expert Committee also

stated in his study that the rate of children who have serious physical disorders and has been

referred to mental health treatment, is high. The cognitive factors concern the same basic factors

where the mental disorders may stem from− i.e., brain damage or psychosocial deprivation. It is

also about the risk of poor mental health that may stem in part of school failure. For ecological

factors, the study emphasized that children in the inner cities are more likely to suffer from

mental health disorders than those who live in rural areas. It shows that it is because of the higher

family difficulties in inner cities. Patterns of the upbringing is strongly associated in the parent-

child interaction. Besides, children who experience or feel unwanted, rejection, hostility or

family discord have increased mental health issues. The continuity of relationship to parent-

figures is important in the few years of life. Children, who experience multiple changes of

parent-figures or those who are reared to institutions that provide many attendants but does not

have special responsibility for each individual, are also most at risk. Their mental health is

mostly depending on the quality of care they receive. The study states that findings show that

children who are taken care inside an institution, often show intellectual impairment as they

grow up. It is due to the fact that their intellectual development varies to their experiences in

institutions, even in a family. Such institutional care does not necessarily cognitively damage a

child. However, it is already proved that it is harder for institutions to provide children the

optimal social and emotional development they need. Schools also have an important impact on

a child’s psychosocial development. Longitudinal studies show that this is because of the effect

of the school environment on the child and not just an artefact of selective intake.

As of adolescents who apparently already passed their childhood, Çaman and Özcebe

(2011) concluded in their study that the prevalence of psychological symptoms in adolescents

living in orphanages were higher than in the general adolescent population. In a narrower sense,

Cakisoglu et al. (1997) stated that 14-17-year-old girls living in an orphanage had a higher level

of psychological symptoms than boys living in an orphanage as well. Simsek et al. (2008)

indicated that internalizing problems, such as depression, anxiety, and social introversion were

more common among girls, whereas externalizing problems, such as noncompliance with rules

and aggressive behaviours were found among boys in institutional care.

The research aims to specify the life of those orphans in many aspects and its differences

with the life of those who have a home to stay in. With the help of exploring multiple literatures

that could support the topic, the study aims to be a reference about the condition of orphaned

children, especially those of Asilo De San Vicente De Paul.

As what most related studies did in their research, the researchers have analyzed the data

to be gathered in the target orphanage, through a case study.

1.2 Statement of Objectives/Statement of the Problem

This study seeks to know the condition of these orphaned kids before and after their stay at the

orphanage (a) Emotionally, (b) Cognitively, (c) Academically and (d) Socially. Specifically, this

paper aims to address the following research questions:

1. What is the emotional state of these children in general?

2. How is the children’s cognitive development inside the orphanage?


3. What is the children’s condition in terms of education?

4. What is the children’s condition in terms of socializing?

1.3 Significance of the Study

The findings of this research will prove useful to the following entities:

 Teachers in orphanage – They often encounter students and those students have

different lives. It is better that they are aware of the internal condition of those

children in case they encounter children with such experiences. The information

is apparently most useful for teachers in orphanages.

 Orphan Nurses – Considering their job, it is necessary to be knowledgeable

about the adjustment and to have a wide extent of comprehension to be able to

properly deal with the children they are taking care of.

 Couples – The couples who plan to adopt a child from an orphanage should be

aware about the proper way to take care of them. Children who freshly came

from an institution are still have some mental health risks and they should be

able to provide them the treatment only them can offer.

1.4 Scope and Delimitation


This research attempted to examine the general condition of the orphans of an institution.

Primarily, the focus of this research is on three orphans in Asilo De San Vicente De Paul whose

age is around 7-15. The location is nearby and is accessible for the researchers.

It should be noted that the present study did not include many orphanages. The

researchers could only cover data from a limited source, considering their social circle.

Emilio Aguinaldo College - Manila

Senior High School Department


2.1. Introduction of the Literature Review

Many studies have shown the negative effects of being an orphan. Most children are

raised by their parents or a parent-figure, and those who are taken care by an institution have the

tendency to grow up with a different development, in general, compared to the standard

development of children who were not in that kind of situation.

2.2 Conceptual Literature

Being deprived of the standard way of living, means being deprived of the standard

development as a human too. According to Bowlby’s Attachment Theory (1969), an infant has to

have a non-interchangeable relationship with at least one adult in order to develop normally. In

the mature form of this theory, it is also stated that the link between early social deprivation and

long-term disturbance in personality is considered substantial. Bowlby (1969) used the phrase

“affectionless psychopath” to describe the emotional shallowness that invades interpersonal

relationships. Contemporary psychiatry has also said that this characteristic is fundamental for

the diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder. The disorder may vary from the gender — for

males, there could be an increase in the criminality, violence, substance abuse, and occupational

instability, while for females, they could have a strong association with depression and suicidal

behaviour, multiple somatic complaints, substance abuse, and prostitution.

Escott also implied that children need positive external experiences to ensure proper

neural development. Children who experienced early severe social deprivation, for

example, children reared in orphanages, experience delayed neurocognitive development. In

addition to that, there are two propositions as to how children reared in orphanages leads to

declinations in neurocognitive development. The first proposition is that the orphanage does not

generally provide a parent-figure of their own. The second proposition is that the experience of

being an orphan gives one an ongoing stressor that turns into a factor that highly affects their

neurocognitive development..

The common reason behind adoption is poverty. Lumos Organization indicated that they

have found that circumstances such as war or natural disaster, discrimination or disability,

compound the problem and force these parents to seek help. The only option they have is to put

their child in an orphanage when they have no support at all. Even though orphanages promise

these children the education and healthcare, some children still have traumatizing experiences

inside those institutions. There is little documentation of sexual abuse in orphanages that mostly

take care of infants and pre-school and these victims lack the verbal ability to report. For

instance, Harris (1989) reported a case wherein Catholic religious hierarchy knew how the

provincial government abuse children in the Mount Cashel Orphanage sexually and physically

but still continued to protect the institution. The abuse continued almost a decade until it was

first revealed..

In terms of an orphan child’s cognitive development, Frank et al. (2006) indicated that

deficits in verbal skills and academic delays in reading seem to persist after early orphanage care,

into school age and adolescence, with the most severe deficits found in children institutionalized

at the youngest ages for the longest amounts of time.

Not only in the Philippines, is where the effects of an orphan life occurring. Multiple

studies in Australia and United States have also described these impacts.

Zimmerman indicated that the vast majority of these traditional orphanages established

prior to the 21st century no longer exist within the U.S within the past 60 years. Therefore, even

though the current term of ‘foster care’ includes any setting of 24-hour substitute care for

children outside their own homes, the study defines traditional orphanage care as separate from

the current definition of foster care. It also depicts modern-day orphanages as different from both

the traditional orphanage care system and the current foster care system.

McKenzie (1999) explains that the shift from orphanage care to foster care has occurred

for several reasons. First, many children who are housed in traditional orphanages are the ones

either had deceased parents or parents who were financially unable to provide for them.

However, after World War II, medical advances that lowered death rates are seen in U.S and this

is when the country experienced a robust economy that decreased poverty rates, thus, decreasing

the need for orphanages. Second, reports of abuse or inadequate care within orphanages made a

negative impression for these orphanages.

“… Losing one’s birth family and being placed in an orphanage, regardless of the age it

occurs, is traumatic. Think of it, your child may have clinically proven anxiety and he/she might

feel the presence of permanency. It's because he/she came from an orphanage which is

abandoned by their own family for such a reason. Your child has learned that he or she can only

depend on him or herself.” (Curry, 2015)

Curry (2015) argued that a child who lost a family at a very early age, experiences

trauma. She also emphasized a positive effect of this situation that soon leads to another negative

effect. She stated that these children have a greater capability to learn independence compared to

the children with parent-figure. However, what may come with this independence is the mindset

of not needing any help from other people. This independence might lead to pride and antisocial

personality disorder.

As stated by Mealy (1995), the sociopathic strategy is maintained by frequency-

dependent selection. She indicated that some are born to be sociopaths out of their genetics are

made to be sociopaths as a result of a harsh developmental history of interaction. The early

environmental conditions that appear to trigger sociopath in those with the requisite genetic

inclinations include physical or sexual abuse as children and a history of parental separation and

loss (Stevens and Price, 1996). This statement is related to the concept of children with orphan


2.3 Related Studies

As asserted by the 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health, it is apparent that adopted

children are more likely to have the need of special health care than the biological children. Most

adopted children or children in orphanages are not able to experience a parent’s care in the stage

when they needed it and it is obvious that this has a great emotional impact, considering that

people have different levels of sensitivity and theirs were not enhanced

Liwag and Reyes conducted a study about a child’s knowledge about emotions. The

results have shown that their ideas of emotion are primitive. They will need a parent-figure that

will guide and support them throughout their psychosocial development. However, Spitz

concluded that the best-trained care givers could never replace the level of interaction and

reciprocity with children achieved by mothers, and as emphasized by many studies, this can

highly affect a child’s socio-emotional development.

According to Miller et al. (2009) behavioural problems are frequent among post-

institutionalized Eastern European adoptees. However, risk factors related to outcomes have not

been fully delineated. They evaluated 50 Eastern European adoptees, age 8—10 years, with their

adoptive families for more than five years. Cognitive and behavioral outcomes and parenting

stress were evaluated in relation to pre-adoptive risk factors, including arrival age, growth, and

facial phenotype related to prenatal alcohol exposure. At follow-up, IQ and achievement scores

were greater than equal average in most children. Behavioural and school problems were

common externalizing, internalizing, behavioural symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity

disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, mental health disorders; thirty-eight percent had multiple

problems. Behavioural problems correlated inversely with IQ. Parent stress was high and

correlated with child externalizing behaviours and inversely to child full scale IQ. Children with

“severe behavioural disturbances” were more likely to have had smaller head circumferences at

arrival. Child's age at adoption related inversely to parent stress, possibly due to the longer

duration of time that children resided with their families. “High/intermediate risk” phenotypic

facial scores for prenatal alcohol exposure correlated with head circumference z scores at arrival

and follow-up. Otherwise, arrival age, growth, and facial phenotype did not correlate with these

specific outcome measures

Furthermore, the study of Attachment security and indiscriminately friendly behaviour in

children adopted from Romanian orphanages to Chisholm et al. (2009) attachment security was

assessed in children who had spent at least 8 months in a Romanian orphanage (RO) and two

comparison groups of children: a Canadian-born, no adopted comparison group (CB) and a

comparison group adopted from Romania before the age of 4 months (RC). We also assessed

differences in displays of indiscriminately friendly behavior between the two adopted groups of

children. Attachment security was assessed using parent report on a questionnaire comprised of

the 23 items with the highest and lowest loadings on the Waters and Deane (1985) attachment Q-

sort. Indiscriminately friendly behaviour was assessed using parents' responses to five questions

about their children's behaviour with new adults. Children's attachment security scores were also

compared to parents' scores on the parent attachment subscale of the Parenting Stress Index

(Abidin, 1990). RO children scored significantly lower on security of attachment than did either

the RC or CB children. RC and CB children did not differ on attachment security. Based on their

parents' reports, RO children displayed significantly more indiscriminately friendly behaviours

than did RC children, but such behaviours were not correlated with security of attachment.

Children's attachment security scores were related to their parents’ attachment scores only in the

RO group. It is suggested that RO children's experience of extreme neglect contributed to their

low attachment-security scores, and that indiscriminate friendliness may be an important

behaviour to consider in the study of attachment in institutionalized children

“Bowlby's evolutionary theory of attachment suggests that children come into the world

biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to

survive. Bowlby was very much influenced by ethological theory in general, but especially by

Lorenz's (1935) study of imprinting.” In this study, Bowlby's evolutionary theory was tackled

because of its topic that involves behaviour. Just like the children in orphanages, this study

wanted to find out Condition of Orphans with ages 7-15 in Asilo De San Vicente De Paul

Emotionally, Cognitively, and Academically.

2.4 Synthesis

Much of the literature claims that the differences seen in different factors that

influence an orphan's development, make their development uncommon. The factors may

include biological, cognitive, ecological, patterns of upbringing and continuity of relationship

(World Health Organization, 1977).


The study primarily focused on the conditions, and thus, how the orphanage made

their lives different from usual. The research also covered the analysis of the patterns of their

behaviour and attitude. The gap that the study aimed to fill is the relation of these conceptual

literatures to the life of orphans. However, nonetheless, the literatures played a big role in the

analysis of the data.

2.5 Theoretical and/or Conceptual Framework

Bowlby’s Attachment Theory



Orphanage System
Figure 1

Emilio Aguinaldo College - Manila

Senior High School Department


3.1. Research Design

The study used case study as the design for the thorough analysis of the subject. It is used

to come up with a principle or thesis through in-depth examination.

3.2 Sample and Setting

The purposive sample (N=3) was selected using the following criteria: (a) Having the

ability to communicate in English; (b) absence of physical disorders and serious mental issues to

avoid confusion in the interviewing process.

A social worker, who currently works at Asilo De San Vicente De Paul, served as the

interviewee. The interview has been conducted inside the institution of Asilo De San Vicente De


Table 1

Demographic Characteristics (N=6)


Subject Age N (%)

Subject 1 7 3 (100)
Subject 2 11
Subject 3 15

Please take note that the characteristics stated above does not pertain to the participant.

The orphanage prohibited the researchers to have a direct contact with the orphans, and only had

a representative on behalf of them.

3.3 Instruments

The instrument used is the method of interviewing. The objective of the interviews was

threefold: to discover new characteristics, to evaluate the characteristics found, and to prioritize

and extract the most crucial characteristics. This instrument has aimed to gather qualitative data

in which the participant is required to explain their answers for the questions asked.

3.4 Data Collection


The participant has signed the consent form before the researchers started their methods

of data gathering. The researchers were only allowed to conduct the data gathering after the

administration of the orphanage overviewed the questionnaire. At least one (1) social worker will

represent on behalf of the children. It is stated in Philippine Republic Act No. 9344 that “…

Proceedings before any authority shall be conducted in the best interest of the child and in a

manner which allows the child to participate and to express himself/herself freely. The

participation of children in the program and policy formulation and implementation related to

juvenile justice and welfare shall be ensured by the concerned government agency.” The

researchers are prohibited by the orphanage to have a direct contact with the orphans to avoid

precipitation of intense emotions within the child. Instead, at least one social worker participated

in behalf of the supposed participants. The representative then answered the questions asked by

the researchers. In addition to that, the researchers conducted the interview in a quiet and

comfortable place so the interviewee is able to reflect and express their answers better. The

researchers also made sure that only the interviewer will hear their responses, for confidentiality.

The conclusion will serve as the reason behind this uncommon development. The answers

obtained from this representative are based from three orphans that met the qualifications of

being the subject. (See Table of Demographic Characteristics)

3.5 Data Analysis

Related literatures have played an important role in the stage of data analysis. The

information obtained from these have served as the prior data and the basis of the conclusion.
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4. Results

4.1. Introductory Paragraph

This study focused on the condition of these orphaned kids before and after their stay at the

orphanage (a) Emotionally, (b) Cognitively, (c) Academically and (d) Socially. Specifically, this

paper aims to address the following research questions:

1. What is the emotional state of these children in general?

2. How is the children’s cognitive development inside the orphanage?

3. What is the children’s condition in terms of education?

4. What is the children’s condition in terms of socializing?

4.2. Results



Subject 1.1 (7 years “Tungkol sa kalagayan niya, Worry-free

actually hindi niya pa iniisip. Pero
old) andun din yung curiosity. Overall,
this kid, sa nakikita namin, masaya
naman sya. Malikot, pero
nasasaway naman.”

Subject 1.2 (11 “I can say, neutral. Yes, neutral Neutral

lang. Not as happy as she was when
years old) she was around the age of 7. Alam
niya... She knows how to have fun,
so kahit papaano, masaya naman
siya. May mga times lang talaga,
na nakakaramdam siya ng... thirst.
Thirst sa pakiramdam ng may
magulang talaga. Yun yung source
of sadness.”
Subject 3 (15 years “Ito na yung age na karamihan Emotional
talaga sakanila nacucurious na sa Imbalance
old) kung anong meron, bakit sila andito
sa ampunan,tsaka kung
oobserbahan mo, nasa proseso sila
ng pagiging mulat. Pag nagiging
mas mulat kasi, mas may possibility
na malungkot sila.”

This table shows the data gathered that concerns the emotional condition of the three subjects

of the study. Participant 1 suggested that the 7-year-old Subject 1 tends to be worry-free.

Subject 1 does not often think about loss of parents, which makes her happier than Subject 2

and Subject 3. Participant 1 stated that Subject 2 can be happy but can also be sad, when

thinks about his overall state, and Subject 3 tends to experience emotional imbalance due to

the overwhelming curiosity they have, considering that they are in the process of being





Subject 1 (7 years “OK naman, as in... parang Playful

tipikal na bata lang.
old) Marunong makinig pero
syempre, hindi maiiwasan
na talagang laro laro at
mga harot harot ang
Subject 1 (11 years “Mapapansin mong mas Adaptability
nagiging behave na siya.
old) Unti unti niya nang
naiintindihan yung setup
nila dito. Makakausap mo
na siya, mapapaliwanagan
mo na, at makikita mo na
naiintinidihan niya na yung
dahilan bakit kailangan
niyang sumunod”
Subject 3 (15 years “Parang mas gusto niya Insecurity
nang makalabas.
old) Impluwensya na rin siguro
ng mga kaklase niya sa
school. Nakikita niya na
yung kaibahan ng buhay
niya sa kanila, ta’s natural
lang siguro yun na
nagkakaroon na ng inggit.”

This table discusses the cognitive development observed by participant. It is seen from the

data that as a child gets older, the more his/her environment affects his/her perception and

psychological development.



Subject 1 (7 years “Yung sistema naman nila Standard

ng education ditto, katulad
old) lang ng sa ibang bata. Aalis
sila ng umaga, depende sa
schedule, tapos pag uwian,
susunduin sila para
bumalik na dito.”
Subject 2 (11 years “Ganon din. Ang schedule Standard
nitong si (Subject 2),
old) tanghali. Half day. Pero all
in all, Normal lang din,
katulad lang din sa mga
bata na may kanya kanyang
Subject 3 (15 years “Parehas lang. Kumbaga, Standard
hindi sila nahuhuli sa
old) lessons, sa pattern ng mga
lesson ng DepEd. Kasi pag
dating ditto, para lang
talaga silang tipikal na
batang may sariling

It is apparent that orphans in Asilo de San Vicente De Paul experience the standard way of

learning, since they go to school, like the children who belong to a family.




Subject 1 (7 years “Normal lang na nagaaway Socially Flexible

sila minsan. Pero
old) kadalasan, masaya naman
sila. Makikita mo may mga
laging magkasama, pero
wala naman silang grupo
Subject 2 (11 years “Karamihan naman sa Belongingness
kanila dito, mababait. Pero
old) mapapansin mo rin talaga
na ganyang edad, meron na
silang mga barka-barkada”
Subject 3 (15 years “Mas nakikita niya na yung Similarities
mga hilig niya. Kaya ano,
old) kaya meron na rin siyang
mga kaibigan na ayun,
kaparehas niya ng mga
hilig. Mapapansin mo yun
sa mga barkada nila.
Nagkakasundo sila sa mga
pinagkukwentuhan nila.”

The table suggests that orphans around the age of 7 are socially flexible. They are happy with

everyone they play with. It also shows that Subject 2 already has the urge of feeling the sense

of belongingness, while Subject 3 already had standards in the social circle they belong in.

Mostly, Subject 3 based on similarities as her standard for friendship.


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5. Discussions

5.1. Summary of Findings

The data gathered shows the condition of three particular orphans in general. The

first table discussed how the participant viewed the subjects’ emotional condition. The

7-year-old Subject 1 did not much think about her parents, and this worry-free mind-set

made her happy. Subject 2 starts to be curious, but still knows how to have fun, as a

child, and Subject 3 with 15 years of age, starts to experience emotional imbalance.

The second table shows the cognitive development of the subjects. It tackled the

observation of the participant when it comes to their cognitive state. As they grow older,

they show cognitive traits that is apparently, influenced by their stay in the orphanage.

The third table simply shows that they have the same education system as the

children that have families, since they go to school as well.

The last table discussed their social condition. Subject 1 was socially flexible and

was open for anyone as long as he/she is happy with them. While Subject 2 starts to be

inside a certain circle of friends, and Subject 3 starts to recognize similarities between

herself and other people, making her set standards for the group she would join in.

5.2. Conclusions

It is seen from the following data that an arising pattern occurs as the age of the

orphan increases. As the orphan gets older, a) He/she becomes more vulnerable

emotionally to his/her state as an orphan; b) He/she develops cognitive traits that can

either be positive or negative.; c) He/she becomes more selective in social circles. The

only common experience they have with children, who live normal lives, is education.

Their life in the orphanage mostly affects the condition they have.

5.3. Implications

The content of the study is enough to help readers gain knowledge about orphans.

It is revealed that orphans do not just stay inside the orphanage, but rather interact with

different people that have the standard way of living. With this, it is apparent that it is

important for these people to be aware about their differences with the orphans in

different aspects.

Prior to these, the study is beneficiary to the orphans, considering that they are the

centre of the whole topic. Aside from that, having a reference of how does one develop

can help a person in his/her self-identification. If the orphans were at least old enough to

understand, they would be conscious about how the orphanage life affected their


Secondly, the study can also be helpful to future researchers too. Studies

need as many as literatures as possible, to serve as the backbone of their thesis. This

research can be one of those literatures.

Lastly, this study can mostly impact the adults that plan to adopt a child

from an orphanage. Among all the people who can benefit from this study, couples are the

most in need of knowledge with regards to the kind of person their adopted child has


Exploring this study helps the researchers to derive and understand young orphans

have limitations in everything they do and have a different life than those who have family

and home. This study will help the readers and the future researchers to be mindful and

how to act and communicate with these children. Also, this study will take a huge part in

the future researches that is connected in the study.

5.4. Limitations

The study can be further expanded if it focuses on a wider extent of participants. It is

apparent that the study had weaknesses since the research only focused on three particular

orphans in Asilo De San Vicente De Paul. The concept of their conditions can be

elaborated if the scope is expanded.

5.5. Recommendations

The researchers suggest people to read the study. The study is enough for readers

to gain knowledge about orphans. This research is relevant especially to future

researchers since it can be their reference or one of their related literature. If by

any chance, they are able to make the study broader and deeper.


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