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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1998 Apr;22(2):528-33.

Comparison of social abilities of children with fetal alcohol syndrome to those of children with similar IQ scores and normal controls.

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Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Institute of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.


Children diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) were assessed with items from the social skills domain of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS) via interviews with their caregivers. Their scores were compared with scores from children in two control groups. The control groups included children matched for IQ to the FAS group (specifically on verbal IQ, henceforth, the VIQ group) and children with IQ scores in the average to above-average range (normal control group). Forty-five children (age range, 5 years 7 months to 12 years 11 months) were assessed (n/group = 15). All groups differed with regard to social ability, as measured by the VABS (NC > VIQ > FAS), even when the effects of socioeconomic status were held constant. The three subdomains of the VABS social scale (interpersonal relationship skills, use of play and leisure time, and coping skills) were assessed, and results showed that the children with FAS were most impaired on the subdomain that assessed interpersonal relationship skills. An additional measure was constructed by obtaining an age-equivalent score for the VABS social scale and calculating a difference score by subtracting the child's chronological age from his/her age-equivalent score. There was a significant correlation between chronological age and difference scores for children in the FAS group but not for children in the two control groups. Specifically, in older children with FAS, there was an increased discrepancy between their ages and their age-equivalent scores, a discrepancy that was not present in children in the control groups. These results suggest that social deficits in children with FAS are beyond what can be explained by low IQ scores and indicate that there may be arrested, and not simply delayed, development of social abilities in children with FAS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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