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USDTL Assisted Research

Prenatal cocaine exposure: an examination of childhood externalizing and internalizing behavior problems at age 7 years

Epidemiol Psichiatr Soc. 2006 Jan-Mar;15(1):20-9.

Accornero VH, Anthony JC, Morrow CE, Xue L, Bandstra ES.

Perinatal Chemical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Program, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33101, USA. vaccornero@med.miami.edu

AIM: This study examines the relationship between prenatal cocaine exposure and parent-reported child behavior problems at age 7 years.

METHODS: Data are from 407 African-American children (210 cocaine-exposed, 197 non-cocaine-exposed) enrolled prospectively at birth in a longitudinal study on the neurodevelopmental consequences of in utero exposure to cocaine. Prenatal cocaine exposure was assessed at delivery through maternal self-report and bioassays (maternal and infant urine and infant meconium). The Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), a measure of childhood externalizing and internalizing behavior problems, was completed by the child’s current primary caregiver during an assessment visit scheduled when the child was seven years old.

RESULTS: Structural equation and GLM/GEE models disclosed no association linking prenatal cocaine exposure status or level of cocaine exposure to child behavior (CBCL Externalizing and Internalizing scores or the eight CBCL subscale scores).

CONCLUSIONS: This evidence, based on standardized ratings by the current primary caregiver, fails to support hypothesized cocaine-associated behavioral problems in school-aged children with in utero cocaine exposure. A next step in this line of research is to secure standardized ratings from other informants (e.g., teachers, youth self-report).


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