A review of the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure among school-aged children

dc.contributor.authorAckerman, John P
dc.contributor.authorRiggins, Tracy
dc.contributor.authorBlack, Maureen M
dc.description.abstractCONTEXT: Studies through 6 years have shown no long-term direct effects of prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) on children’s physical growth, developmental test scores, or language outcomes. Little is known about the effects of PCE among school-aged children aged 6 years and older. OBJECTIVE: We reviewed articles from studies that examined the effects of PCE on growth, cognitive ability, academic functioning, and brain structure and function among school-aged children. METHODS: Articles were obtained by searching PubMed, Medline, TOXNET, and PsycInfo databases from January 1980 to December 2008 with the terms “prenatal cocaine exposure,” “cocaine,” “drug exposure,” “substance exposure,” “maternal drug use,” “polysubstance,” “children,” “adolescent,” “in utero,” “pregnancy,” “development,” and “behavior.” Criteria for inclusion were (1) empirical research on children aged 6 years and older prenatally exposed to cocaine, (2) peerreviewed English-language journal, (3) comparison group, (4) longitudinal follow-up or historical prospective design, (5) masked assessment, (6) exclusion of subjects with serious medical disabilities, and (7) studies that reported nonredundant findings for samples used in multiple investigations. Thirty-two unique studies met the criteria. Each article was independently abstracted by 2 authors to obtain sample composition, methods of PCE assessment, study design, comparison groups, dependent variables, covariates, and results. RESULTS: Associations between PCE and growth, cognitive ability, academic achievement, and language functioning were small and attenuated by environmental variables. PCE had significant negative associations with sustained attention and behavioral self-regulation, even with covariate control. Although emerging evidence suggests PCErelated alterations in brain structure and function, interpretation is limited by methodologic inconsistencies. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with findings among preschool-aged children, environmental variables play a key role in moderating and explaining the effects of PCE on school-aged children’s functioning. After controlling for these effects, PCE-related impairments are reliably reported in sustained attention and behavioral self-regulation among school-aged children. Pediatrics 2010;125:554–565en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipThis study was supported by National Institute of Drug Abuse grants R01- DA07432 and R01-DA021059en_US
dc.identifier.citationAckerman, J. P., Riggins, T., & Black, M. M. (2010). A review of the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure among school-aged children. Pediatrics, 125(3), 554-565.en_US
dc.publisherAmerican Academy of Pediatricsen_US
dc.relation.isAvailableAtCollege of Behavioral & Social Sciencesen_us
dc.relation.isAvailableAtDigital Repository at the University of Marylanden_us
dc.relation.isAvailableAtUniversity of Maryland (College Park, MD)en_us
dc.subjectmaternal exposureen_US
dc.subjectprenatal exposureen_US
dc.subjectdelayed effectsen_US
dc.subjectadolescent developmenten_US
dc.titleA review of the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure among school-aged childrenen_US


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