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Dev Psychol. 2002 Sep;38(5):648-58.

Children's intellectual and emotional-behavioral adjustment at 4 years as a function of cocaine exposure, maternal characteristics, and environmental risk.

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Department of Psychiatry, Drexel University College of Medicine, USA.


The authors examined 223 children at age 4 years for the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure, exposure to other substances, maternal and environmental risk factors, and neonatal medical problems on IQ, externalizing problems, and internalizing problems. Regression analyses showed that maternal verbal IQ and low environmental risk predicted child IQ. Cocaine exposure negatively predicted children's overall IQ and verbal reasoning scores, but only for boys. Cocaine exposure also predicted poorer short-term memory. Maternal harsh discipline, maternal depressive symptoms, and increased environmental risk predicted externalizing problems. In contrast, only maternal depressive symptoms predicted internalizing problems. These findings indicate that early exposure to substances is largely unrelated to subsequent IQ or adjustment, particularly for girls.

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