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Behav Genet. 2014 Sep;44(5):456-67. doi: 10.1007/s10519-014-9668-4. Epub 2014 Aug 13.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy and adverse outcomes in offspring: genetic and environmental sources of covariance.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, P.O. Box 281, 171 77, Stockholm, Sweden, ralf.kuja-halkola@ki.se.

Abstract

Maternal smoking during pregnancy (SDP) has been associated with several psychiatric outcomes in the offspring; studies have questioned whether the associations are causal, however. We analyzed all children born in Sweden between 1983 and 2009 to investigate the effect of SDP on multiple indicators of adverse outcomes in three areas: pregnancy outcomes (birth weight, preterm birth and being born small for gestational age), long-term cognitive abilities (low academic achievement and general cognitive ability) and externalizing behaviors (criminal conviction, violent criminal conviction and drug misuse). SDP was associated with all outcomes. Within-family analyses of the pregnancy outcomes were consistent with a causal interpretation as the associations persisted when siblings discordant for SDP were compared. For the cognitive and externalizing outcomes, the results were not consistent with causal effects; when comparing differentially exposed siblings none of the associations remained significant. In quantitative genetic models genetic factors explained the majority of the associations between SDP and cognitive and externalizing outcomes. The results suggest that the associations between SDP in mothers and cognition and externalizing behaviors in their offspring is primarily due to genetic effects that influence the behaviors in both generations.

PMID:
25117564
PMCID:
PMC4194213
DOI:
10.1007/s10519-014-9668-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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