Exposure to maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy has long been known to have adverse perinatal consequences. More recently, maternal smoking has been associated with increased risk of severe conduct problems and delinquency in offspring. This association has been replicated in multiple, cross-national studies. However, population-based studies have not examined this relationship in children. Childhood-onset conduct problems often reflect a serious and chronic pattern of delinquency that is more likely to persist into adulthood. We studied the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on conduct problems in a cohort of first-graders from the Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS). The PYS is a population-based, prospective study of 489 high-risk African-American and white boys. Conduct problems were measured repeatedly over six years, using a conduct problems sum from the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). In multivariable longitudinal regression analyses, both moderate and heavy maternal smoking were significantly associated with conduct problems (p-values=0.016 and 0.004 respectively). As early as age seven, boys whose mothers smoked more than half a pack daily were almost five times as likely to exhibit conduct problems (OR=4.8, 95% CI: 2.1, 11.0). Childhood-onset conduct problems often mark the beginning of a trajectory of antisocial behavior with enormous costs to the child, their families and society at large. These costs may represent an enormous and heretofore unrecognized tobacco-related burden. Intensifying prevention efforts which reduce the likelihood of smoking during pregnancy may have substantial public health benefits which extend far beyond the perinatal period.
Learning Objectives: 1. Learn how the adverse effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy extend far beyond the perinatal period. 2. Describe the public health implications of early-onset mental health problems in children and public health 3. Consider possible prevention programs in this population
Keywords: Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Smoking
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA