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Nicotine Tob Res. 2012 Feb;14(2):191-9. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr181. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

Executive function profile in the offspring of women that smoked during pregnancy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA. psy391@gmail.com

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Smoking tobacco during pregnancy results in exposure to the fetal neuroteratogen nicotine. The current study evaluated if the offspring of smokers show abnormalities in maternal ratings of executive function, prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and academic performance. A secondary objective was to determine the utility of online data collection.

METHODS:

Mothers (N = 357) completed the parent form of the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) and provided information about smoking during pregnancy.

RESULTS:

The internal consistency of the BRIEF when administered electronically was quite satisfactory (Cronbach's α = .98). As anticipated, ADHD was more frequently diagnosed in the offspring of women that smoked at least 10 cigarettes/day (odds ratio [OR] = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.22-5.71). Higher (i.e., more problematic) ratings relative to unexposed children (p < .01) were only identified on the total BRIEF score, the Metacognition Index, and on the Initiate, Plan/Organize, and Monitor scales among children exposed to ≥10 cigarettes/day. Nicotine-exposed children were also more likely to perform less well than their classmates in math (OR = 2.78, 95% CI = 1.59-4.87) and reading (OR = 2.00, 95% CI = 1.10-3.63), and these academic effects were independent of maternal education levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

This report provides preliminary evidence that the BRIEF has adequate psychometric properties when administered electronically and that mothers who smoke have offspring with lower executive function proficiency. These findings contribute to a larger literature that indicates that smoking during pregnancy results in adverse reproductive outcomes and, possibly, subtle but enduring deficits in prefrontal function.

PMID:
22039071
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3265745
Free PMC Article

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