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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2001 Sep-Oct;23(5):421-30.

Differential effects on facets of attention in adolescents prenatally exposed to cigarettes and marihuana.

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Department of Psychology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, K1S 5B6, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Facets of attention were examined in 152 13- to 16-year-old adolescents for whom prenatal exposure to marihuana and cigarettes had been ascertained. The subjects, participants in an ongoing longitudinal study, were from a low-risk, predominantly middle-class sample. The assessment battery included 11 variables derived from a Continuous Performance Test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, the Stroop Test, a number of memory tasks and four subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. A principal components analysis yielded a five-factor model that was highly concordant with a recent model of attention proposed by Mirsky. Prenatal cigarette exposure was associated with an encode/retain (working memory) component of attention and, at the younger age, with the impulsivity element. Prenatal marihuana was associated with the factor describing stability of attention over time. The differential drug findings were consistent with and extend observations noted when this sample was assessed at earlier ages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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