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My Mum smoked when she was pregnant - no wonder I'm badly behaved!

Posted Jul 23 2013 8:15am

Leicester Uni Study finds links between Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Antisocial Behaviour in Children

Smoking during pregnancythe period from conception to birth appears to be a prenatal risk factor associated with conduct problems in children, according to a study published by JAMA Psychiatry, but the reasons are less clear.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy has been known to be a risk factor for offspring mental health, including attention deficits and conduct problems. However, the new findings suggest that the link is more than just environmental.

Professor Gordon Harold and Dr. Darya Gaysina, of the University of Leicester, with colleagues in the United States and New Zealand, compared the relationship between maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring conduct problems among children raised by genetically related mothers and genetically unrelated mothers.

According to the study results, there was a significant association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring conduct problems observed among children raised by genetically related mothers and genetically unrelated mothers. Results from a meta-analysis affirmed this pattern of findings across pooled study samples.

“Our findings suggest an association between pregnancy smoking and child conduct problems that is unlikely to be fully explained by postnatal environmental factors (i.e., parenting practices) even when the postnatal passive genotype-environment correlation has been removed.” The authors conclude, “The causal explanation for the association between smoking in pregnancy and offspring conduct problems is not known but may include genetic factors and other prenatal environmental hazards, including smoking itself.”

'Conduct disorder' represents an issue of significant social, clinical, and practice concern, with evidence highlighting increasing rates of child conduct problems internationally. Maternal smoking during pregnancy is known to be a risk factor for offspring psychological problems, including attention deficits and conduct problems, the authors write in the study background.

(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online July 24, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.127. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com .)

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