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Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Jan 15;53(2):130-5.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy and risk to boys' conduct disturbance: an examination of the causal hypothesis.

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1
Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0003, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We undertook this study to determine whether the widely replicated link between maternal smoking and conduct disturbance (Cd) is better explained by a model of direct causation or of mother-offspring transmission of a latent Cd variable.

METHODS:

Family data collected on 538 adolescent twin boys from the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioral Development (VTSABD) was used to compare two alternative models: 1) a model composed of a latent transmissible factor that influences mother's juvenile conduct symptoms, smoking during pregnancy, and subsequent Cd and smoking in her adolescent boys; and 2) a model specifying a direct causal path from mother's smoking to child Cd.

RESULTS:

The maternal-offspring transmission model fit the data as well as a model specifying a direct causal path from maternal smoking to child Cd.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results suggest that the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and boys' Cd symptoms may be attributed to the transmission of a latent Cd factor and not to a direct effect of the smoking. Our results challenge previous findings of a direct effect of prenatal smoke exposure on risk to Cd once other etiologic factors are considered.

PMID:
12547468
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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