The quality of children’s social interactions and their attachment security with a primary caregiver are two widely studied indices of socioemotional functioning in early childhood. Although both Bowlby and Ainsworth suggested that the parent-child interactions underlying the development of attachment security could be distinguished from other aspects of parent-child interaction (e.g., play), relatively little empirical research has examined this proposition. The aim of the current study was to explore this issue by examining concurrent relations between toddler’s attachment security in the Strange Situation Procedure and quality of mother-child social interaction in a high-risk sample of toddlers characterized by prenatal cocaine exposure and low levels of maternal education. Analyses of variance suggested limited relations between attachment security and quality of social interaction. Further research examining the interrelations among various components of the parent-child relationship is needed.
Child; Attachment; Social Interaction; Prenatal Cocaine Exposure
We previously reported early results of a randomized trial of whole-body hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy showing a significant reduction in the rate of death or moderate or severe disability at 18 to 22 months of age. Long-term outcomes are now available.
In the original trial, we assigned infants with moderate or severe encephalopathy to usual care (the control group) or whole-body cooling to an esophageal temperature of 33.5°C for 72 hours, followed by slow rewarming (the hypothermia group). We evaluated cognitive, attention and executive, and visuospatial function; neurologic outcomes; and physical and psychosocial health among participants at 6 to 7 years of age. The primary outcome of the present analyses was death or an IQ score below 70.
Of the 208 trial participants, primary outcome data were available for 190. Of the 97 children in the hypothermia group and the 93 children in the control group, death or an IQ score below 70 occurred in 46 (47%) and 58 (62%), respectively (P = 0.06); death occurred in 27 (28%) and 41 (44%) (P = 0.04); and death or severe disability occurred in 38 (41%) and 53 (60%) (P = 0.03). Other outcome data were available for the 122 surviving children, 70 in the hypothermia group and 52 in the control group. Moderate or severe disability occurred in 24 of 69 children (35%) and 19 of 50 children (38%), respectively (P = 0.87). Attention–executive dysfunction occurred in 4% and 13%, respectively, of children receiving hypothermia and those receiving usual care (P = 0.19), and visuospatial dysfunction occurred in 4% and 3% (P = 0.80).
The rate of the combined end point of death or an IQ score of less than 70 at 6 to 7 years of age was lower among children undergoing whole-body hypothermia than among those undergoing usual care, but the differences were not significant. However, hypothermia resulted in lower death rates and did not increase rates of severe disability among survivors. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Neonatal Research Network; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00005772.)
To evaluate the impact of prenatal cocaine exposure and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) status on childhood growth.
Cocaine exposure was defined by history or meconium metabolites. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine cocaine exposure and SGA status on growth, while controlling for exposure to other drugs and alcohol use.
At birth cocaine-exposed infants (n=364) had significantly lower growth parameters compared to non-exposed children (n=771). At 6 years, weight was similar between exposed and unexposed children. SGA infants continued to be growth impaired. There was a significant interaction between prenatal cocaine exposure and SGA status at 6 years. The negative effects of cocaine on weight and height were greater among non-SGA than SGA children (432 vs. 280 gm, and 0.7 and 0.5 cm, respectively) while negative effects of SGA status on weight and height were larger in non-cocaine exposed compared to the exposed children (2.3 kg vs.1.6 kg and 2.2 and 1.0 cm).
Children exposed to prenatal cocaine were similar in weight to non-exposed children at 6 years of age. Cocaine had an unexplained greater detrimental effect on non-SGA than SGA children. SGA status at birth has an independent detrimental effect on childhood growth.
Prenatal cocaine exposure; small for gestational age; childhood growth
The negative effects of prenatal substance exposure on neurobiological and psychological development and of early adversity are clear, but little is known about their combined effects. In this study, multilevel analyses of the effects of prenatal substance exposure and early adversity on the emergence of neurobehavioral disinhibition in adolescence were conducted. Neurobehavioral disinhibition has previously been observed to occur frequently in multiproblem youth from high-risk backgrounds. In the present study, neurobehavioral disinhibition was assessed via behavioral dysregulation and poor executive function composite measures. Data were drawn from a prospective longitudinal investigation of prenatal substance exposure that included 1073 participants followed from birth through adolescence. The results from latent growth modeling analyses showed mean stability but significant individual differences in behavioral dysregulation and mean decline with individual differences in executive function difficulties. Prior behavioral dysregulation predicted increased executive function difficulties. Prenatal drug use predicted the emergence and growth in neurobehavioral disinhibition across adolescence (directly for behavioral dysregulation and indirectly for executive function difficulties via early adversity and behavioral dysregulation). Prenatal drug use and early adversity exhibited unique effects on growth in behavioral dysregulation; early adversity uniquely predicted executive function difficulties. These results are discussed in terms of implications for theory development, social policy, and prevention science.
To examine the predictive validity of the amplitude integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) and stage of encephalopathy among infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) eligible for therapeutic whole-body hypothermia.
Neonates were eligible for this prospective study if moderate or severe HIE occurred at <6 hours and an aEEG was obtained at <9 hours of age. The primary outcome was death or moderate/severe disability at 18 months.
There were 108 infants (71 with moderate HIE and 37 with severe HIE) enrolled in the study. aEEG findings were categorized as normal, with continuous normal voltage (n = 12) or discontinuous normal voltage (n = 12), or abnormal, with burst suppression (n = 22), continuous low voltage (n = 26), or flat tracing (n = 36). At 18 months, 53 infants (49%) experienced death or disability. Severe HIE and an abnormal aEEG were related to the primary outcome with univariate analysis, whereas severe HIE alone was predictive of outcome with multivariate analysis. Addition of aEEG pattern to HIE stage did not add to the predictive value of the model; the area under the curve changed from 0.72 to 0.75 (P = .19).
The aEEG background pattern did not significantly enhance the value of the stage of encephalopathy at study entry in predicting death and disability among infants with HIE.
neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; amplitude integrated EEG
To examine screening results obtained by serial annual behavioral assessment of children with prenatal drug exposure.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study enrolled children with prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) at birth for longitudinal assessments of developmental, behavioral, and health outcomes. At 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 years of age, caregivers rated participants on the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC). Serial PSC results were compared to an established broad-based behavioral measure at 9, 11, and 13 years. PSC results were analyzed for 1,081 children who had at least 2 annual screens during the 5-year time span. Most subjects (87%) had 4 or more annual screens rated by the same caregiver (80%). PSC scores (and Positive screens) over time were compared at different time points for those with and without PCE. Covariates, including demographic factors and exposures to certain other substances, were controlled.
Children with PCE had significantly higher scores overall, with more Positive screens for behavior problems than children without PCE. Children with PCE had more externalizing behavior problems. Children exposed to tobacco pre- and post-natally also showed higher PSC scores. Over time, PSC scores differed slightly from the 8-year scores, without clear directional trend. Earlier PSC results predicted later behavioral outcomes.
Findings of increased total PSC scores and Positive PSC screens for behavioral concerns in this group of children with prenatal substance exposure support the growing body of evidence that additional attention to identification of mental health problems may be warranted in this high-risk group.
Behavior disorder; child behavior; mental health; screening; prenatal cocaine exposure; Pediatric Symptom Checklist
Little is known about the association between prenatal cocaine exposure and obesity. We tested whether prenatal cocaine exposure increases the likelihood of obesity in 561 9-year-old term children from the Maternal Lifestyle Study (MLS). Overall, 21.6% of children met criterion for obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 95th percentile, age and sex-specific). While there was no overall cocaine effect on obesity, multivariate logistic analysis revealed that children exposed to cocaine but not alcohol were 4 times more likely to be obese (OR 4.11, CI 2.04–9.76) than children not exposed to either drug. No increase in obesity prevalence was found in children exposed to alcohol but not cocaine (OR 1.08, CI .59–1.93) or both (OR 1.21, CI 0.66–2.22). Alcohol exposure may attenuate the effect of cocaine exposure on obesity. Increased obesity associated with cocaine but not alcohol exposure was first observed at 7 years. BMI was also elevated from 3 to 9 years in children exposed to cocaine but not alcohol, due to increasing weight but normal height. Prenatal exposure to cocaine may alter the neuroendocrine system and metabolic processes resulting in increased weight gain and childhood obesity.
Prenatal cocaine exposure; prenatal alcohol exposure; childhood obesity; growth; fetal origins
We previously reported an association between prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) and childhood behavior problems as observed by the parent or caretaker. However, these behavior problems may not manifest in a structured environment, such as a school setting.
We determined whether there is an association between PCE and school behavior problems and whether ratings of behavior problems from the teacher differ from those noted by the parent or caretaker.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study, a multicenter study, enrolled 1388 children with and without PCE at one month of age for longitudinal assessment. Teachers masked to prenatal drug exposure status completed the Teacher Report Form (TRF/6-18) when children were 7, 9, and 11 years old. We also administered the Child Behavior Checklist-parent report (CBCL) to the parent/caretaker at same ages and then at 13 years. We performed latent growth curve modeling to determine whether high PCE will predict externalizing, internalizing, total behavior, and attention problems at 7 years of age and whether changes in problems' scores over time differ between those exposed and non-exposed from both teacher and parent report. Besides levels of PCE as predictors, we controlled for the following covariates, namely: site, child characteristics (gender and other prenatal drug exposures), family level influences (maternal age, depression and psychological symptomatology, continuing drug use, exposure to domestic violence, home environment, and socioeconomic status), and community level factors (neighborhood and community violence).
The mean behavior problem T scores from the teacher report were significantly higher than ratings by the parent or caretaker. Latent growth curve modeling revealed a significant relationship between intercepts of problem T scores from teacher and parent ratings; i.e., children that were rated poorly by teachers were also rated poorly by their parent/caretaker or vice versa. After controlling for covariates, we found high PCE to be a significant predictor of with higher externalizing behavior problem T scores from both parent and teacher report at 7 years (p=0.034 and p=0.021, respectively) in comparison to non-PCE children. These differences in scores from either teacher or caregiver were stable through subsequent years or did not change significantly over time. Boys had higher T scores than girls on internalizing and total problems by caretaker report; they also had significantly higher T scores for internalizing, total, and attention problems by teacher ratings; the difference was marginally significant for externalizing behavior (p=0.070). Caretaker postnatal use of tobacco, depression, and community violence were significant predictors of all behavior problems rated by parent/caretaker, while lower scores on the home environment predicted all behavior outcomes by the teacher report.
Children with high PCE are likely to manifest externalizing behavior problems; their behavior problem scores at 7 years from either report of teacher or parent remained higher than scores of non-exposed children on subsequent years. Screening and identification of behavior problems at earlier ages could make possible initiation of intervention, while considering the likely effects of other confounders.
Determine the association between prenatal cocaine exposure and postnatal environmental adversity on salivary cortisol stress reactivity in school aged children.
Subjects included 743 11 year old children (n=320 cocaine exposed; 423 comparison) followed since birth in a longitudinal prospective multisite study. Saliva samples were collected to measure cortisol at baseline and after a standardized procedure to induce psychological stress. Children were divided into those who showed an increase in cortisol from baseline to post stress and those who showed a decrease or blunted cortisol response. Covariates measured included site, birthweight, maternal pre and postnatal use of alcohol, tobacco or marijuana, social class, changes in caretakers, maternal depression and psychological symptoms, domestic and community violence, child abuse and quality of the home.
With adjustment for confounding variables, cortisol reactivity to stress was more likely to be blunted in children with prenatal cocaine exposure. Cocaine exposed children exposed to domestic violence showed the strongest effects.
The combination of prenatal cocaine exposure and an adverse postnatal environment could down regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) resulting in the blunted cortisol response to stress possibly increasing risk for later psychopathology and adult disease.
prenatal cocaine exposure; cortisol reactivity; environmental adversity
To determine whether Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Network Neurobehavior Scales (NNNS) at 44 weeks predict motor outcome at 2 years in preterm infants from the Maternal Lifestyles Study (MLS).
Data were collected on all preterm infants (<36 weeks) in the MLS who had an NNNS at 44 weeks (n=395) and neurologic exam at 12–36 months or Bayley Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) at 24 months (n=270). Logistic regression analyzed NNNS summary scores associated with Cerebral Palsy (CP) or PDI <70, while controlling for birth weight 1250g.
Eighteen of 395 infants (5%) had CP; 24 of 270 infants (9%) had PDI <70. CP was associated with low quality of movement (OR 1.95, 95% CI 1.24–3.06, p=0.004) and high lethargy (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.01–2.76, p=0.045). The model contributed 19% of the variance in CP diagnosis at 12–36 months (R2=0.19, p<0.001). Low PDI was associated with low handling (OR 1.83; 95% CI 1.12–2.99, p=0.017), low quality of movement (OR 2.16; 95%CI 1.38–3.38, p=0.001), and hypotonia (OR 1.63; 95% CI 1.14–2.32, p=0.007). The model contributed 26% of the variance in PDI <70 at 24 months (R2=0.26, p<0.001).
The neurobehavioral profile of underarousal in 44 week preterm infants may predict poor motor outcome.
neurobehavior; outcomes; ELBW
Prenatal cocaine exposure has been linked to intrauterine growth retardation and poor birth outcomes; little is known about the effects on longer-term medical outcomes, such as overweight status and hypertension in childhood. Our objective was to examine the association between prenatal cocaine exposure and body mass index and blood pressure at 9 years of age among children followed prospectively in a multi-site longitudinal study evaluating the impact of maternal lifestyle during pregnancy on childhood outcome.
This analysis includes 880 children (277 cocaine exposed and 603 with no cocaine exposure) with blood pressure, height, and weight measurements at 9 years of age. Regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationship between prenatal cocaine exposure and body mass index and blood pressure at 9 years of age after controlling for demographics, other drug exposure, birth weight, maternal weight, infant postnatal weight gain, and childhood television viewing, exercise and dietary habits at 9 years. Path analyses were used to further explore these relationships.
At 9 years of age, 15% of the children were pre-hypertensive and 19% were hypertensive; 16% were at risk for overweight status and 21% were overweight. A small percentage of women were exposed to high levels of prenatal cocaine throughout pregnancy. Among children born to these women, a higher body mass index was noted. Path analysis suggested that high cocaine exposure has an indirect effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure that is mediated through its effect on body mass index.
High levels of in-utero cocaine exposure are a marker for elevated body mass index and blood pressure among children born full term.
Prenatal cocaine exposure; Body mass index; Childhood hypertension; Overweight; Obesity
To examine the relationships between sleep problems and prenatal exposure to cocaine, opiates, marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine in children 1 month to 12 years of age.
Sleep data was collected by maternal report in a prospective longitudinal follow-up of children participating in the Maternal Lifestyle multisite study.
Hospital based research centers in Providence, RI, Miami, FL, Detroit, MI, and Memphis, TN
There were 808 participants: 374 exposed to cocaine and/or opiates; 434 comparison.
Prenatal cocaine, opiate, marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine exposure.
Sleep problems in early, middle, and late childhood, assessed as composites of maternal report items.
Of the five substances, prenatal nicotine exposure was the only unique predictor of sleep problems (B = .074, R2 Δ = .008, p = .012) with adjustment for covariates including SES, marital status, physical abuse, prenatal medical care, and postnatal cigarette smoke exposure.
Prenatal exposure to nicotine was positively associated with children's sleep problems persisting throughout the first 12 years of life. Targeting this group of children for educational and behavioral efforts to prevent and treat sleep problems is merited given that good sleep may serve as a protective factor for other developmental outcomes.
We sought to determine the association between small for gestational age (SGA), birth weight, and childhood obesity within preterm polysubstance exposed children. We sampled 312 preterm children with 11-year body mass index (BMI; age- and sex-specific) data from the Maternal Lifestyle Study (51% girls, 21.5% SGA, 46% prenatal cocaine, and 55% tobacco exposed). Multinomial regression analyzed the association between 11-year obesity (OBE) and overweight (OW) and SGA, birth weight, first-year growth velocity, diet, and physical activity variables. Overall, 24% were OBE (BMI for age ≥95th percentile) and 16.7% were OW (BMI ≥85th and <95th percentiles). In adjusted analyses, SGA was associated with OW (odds ratio [OR]=3.4, confidence interval [CI] 1.5 to 7.5). Higher birth weight was associated with OBE (OR = 1.8, CI 1.3 to 2.4) and OW (OR=1.4, CI 1.1 to 2.0). Growth velocity was associated with OBE (OR=2.7, CI 1.8 to 4.0) and OW (OR=1.6, CI 1.1 to 2.4). Low exercise was associated with OBE (OR=2.1, CI 1.0 to 4.4) and OW (OR=2.1, CI 1.0 to 4.5). There was no effect of substance exposure on obesity outcomes. Many (41%) of these high-risk preterm 11-year-olds were obese/overweight. Multiple growth-related processes may be involved in obesity risk for preterm children, including fetal programming as indicated by the SGA effect.
Childhood obesity; premature birth; infant SGA; birth weight; exercise; prenatal drug exposure
To test a developmental model of neurobehavioral dysregulation relating prenatal substance exposure to behavior problems at age 7.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
The sample included 360 cocaine-exposed and 480 unexposed children from lower to lower middle class families of which 78% were African American. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test models whereby prenatal exposure to cocaine and other substances would result in neurobehavioral dysregulation in infancy, which would predict externalizing and internalizing behavior problems in early childhood. SEM models were developed for individual and combined parent and teacher report for externalizing, internalizing, and total problem scores on the Child Behavior Checklist.
The Goodness of Fit Statistics indicated that all of the models met criteria for adequate fit with 7 of the 9 models explaining 18 to 60% of the variance in behavior problems at age 7. The paths in the models indicate that there are direct effects of prenatal substance exposure on 7-year behavior problems as well as indirect effects, including neurobehavioral dysregulation.
Prenatal substance exposure affects behavior problems at age 7 through two mechanisms. The direct pathway is consistent with a teratogenic effect. Indirect pathways suggest cascading effects where prenatal substance exposure results in neurobehavioral dysregulation manifesting as deviations in later behavioral expression. Developmental models provide an understanding of pathways that describe how prenatal substance exposure affects child outcome and have significant implications for early identification and prevention.
Prenatal substance exposure; cocaine; neurobehavioral dysregulation; behavior problems
When predicting child developmental outcomes, reliance on children's scores on measures of developmental functioning alone might mask more subtle behavioral difficulties especially in children with developmental risk factors. The current study examined predictors and stability of examiner behavior ratings and their association with concurrent and subsequent mental and motor performance in toddlers born at extremely low birth weight. Toddlers were evaluated using the Behavior Rating scale (BRS) and the mental and psychomotor indexes of the Bayley-II at 18 and 30 months corrected age. BRS total and factor scores showed moderate stability between 18 and 30 months. These scores also predicted 30-month Mental Scale and Psychomotor Scale scores above and beyond prior mental and motor performance. Our findings suggest that early behavior ratings are associated with child mental and motor performance; therefore, behavior ratings might be useful in identifying toddlers at developmental risk and who might benefit from early intervention.
extremely low birth weight; Bayley; behavior ratings; performance
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on special education at age 7 with adjustment for covariates.
As part of the prospective, longitudinal, multisite study of children with prenatal cocaine exposure (Maternal Lifestyle Study), school records were reviewed for 943 children at 7 years to determine involvement in special education outcomes: (1) individualized education plan; (2) special education conditions; (3) support services; (4) special education classes; and (5) speech and language services. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure on these outcomes with environmental, maternal, and infant medical variables as covariates, as well as with and without low child IQ.
Complete data for each analysis model were available for 737 to 916 children. When controlling for covariates including low child IQ, prenatal cocaine exposure had a significant effect on individualized education plan. When low child IQ was not included in the model, prenatal cocaine exposure had a significant effect on support services. Male gender, low birth weight, white race, and low child IQ also predicted individualized education plan. Low birth weight and low child IQ were significant in all models. White race was also significant in speech and language services. Other covariate effects were model specific. When included in the models, low child IQ accounted for more of the variance and changed the significance of other covariates.
Prenatal cocaine exposure increased the likelihood of receiving an individualized education plan and support services, with adjustment for covariates. Low birth weight and low child IQ increased the likelihood of all outcomes. The finding that white children were more likely to get an individualized education plan and speech and language services could indicate a greater advantage in getting educational resources for this population.
prenatal exposure; cocaine; education; schools
To examine the relationship between early parenting stress and later child behavior in a high risk sample and measure the effect of drug exposure on the relationship between parenting stress and child behavior.
A subset of child-caregiver dyads (n = 607) were selected from the Maternal Lifestyle Study, which is a large sample of children (n = 1388) with prenatal cocaine exposure and a comparison sample unexposed to cocaine. Of the 607 dyads, 221 were prenatally exposed to cocaine and 386 were unexposed to cocaine. Selection was based on the presence of a stable caregiver at 4 and 36 months with no evidence of change in caregiver between those time points.
Parenting stress at 4 months significantly predicted child externalizing behavior at 36 months. These relations were unaffected by cocaine exposure suggesting the relationship between parenting stress and behavioral outcome exists for high-risk children regardless of drug exposure history.
These results extend the findings of the relationship between parenting stress and child behavior to a sample of high-risk children with prenatal drug exposure. Implications for outcome and treatment are discussed.
disruptive behavior; parenting stress; high-risk children; prenatal drug exposure; cocaine
The case of a premature infant with bacteriologically proved klebsiella pneumonia in the first week of life is reported. The clinical course was complicated by the early formation of pneumatoceles and subsequent recurrent pneumothoraces. Treatment consisted of antibiotic therapy and chest tube drainage. Satisfactory clinical recovery, growth and psychomotor development were noted at 1 year of age, despite the persistence of a pneumatocele in the right lung.