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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2005 May-Jun;27(3):439-48.

Prenatal marijuana exposure: effect on child depressive symptoms at ten years of age.

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Susceptibility and Population Health Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Studies of the consequences of prenatal marijuana use have reported effects predominantly on the behavioral and cognitive development of the children. Research on other aspects of child neurobehavioral development, such as psychiatric symptomatology, has been limited. This study examines the relations between prenatal marijuana exposure (PME) and child depressive symptoms at 10 years of age. Data are from the 10-year follow-up of 633 mother-child dyads who participated in the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Project. Maternal prenatal and current substance use, measures of the home environment, demographic status, and psychosocial characteristics were ascertained at prenatal months four and seven, at delivery, and at age 10. At age 10, the children also completed the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) [M. Kovacs. The Children's Depression Inventory, Multi-Health Systems, Inc., North Tonawanda, NY, (1992).], a self-report measure of current depressive symptoms. Multivariate regressions were used to test trimester-specific effects of marijuana and their associations with the CDI total score, while controlling for significant prenatal predictors and significant current covariates of childhood depression. PME in the first and third trimesters predicted significantly increased levels of depressive symptoms. This finding remained significant after controlling for all identified covariates from both the prenatal period and the current phase at age 10. These findings reflect an association with the level of depressive symptoms rather than a diagnosis of a major depressive disorder. Other significant correlates of depressive symptoms in the children included maternal education, maternal tobacco use (prenatal or current), and the child's composite IQ score. These findings are consistent with recent reports that identify specific areas of the brain and specific brain functions that are associated with PME.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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