Friday, July 26, 2013

Smoking during pregnancy associated with offspring behavior problems, study suggests

Smoking during pregnancy appears to be a prenatal risk factor associated with conduct problems in children, according to a study published by JAMA Psychiatry.
Conduct disorder represents an issue of significant social, clinical, and practice concern, with evidence highlighting increasing rates of child conduct problems internationally. Maternal smoking during pregnancy is known to be a risk factor for offspring psychological problems, including attention deficits and conduct problems, the authors write in the study background.

Professor Gordon Harold and Dr. Darya Gaysina, of the University of Leicester, with colleagues in the United States and New Zealand, examined the relationship between maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring conduct problems among children raised by genetically related mothers and genetically unrelated mothers.

"Our findings suggest an association between pregnancy smoking and child conduct problems that is unlikely to be fully explained by postnatal environmental factors (i.e., parenting practices) even when the postnatal passive genotype-environment correlation has been removed." The authors conclude, "The causal explanation for the association between smoking in pregnancy and offspring conduct problems is not known but may include genetic factors and other prenatal environmental hazards, including smoking itself."

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