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The combined effects of prenatal drug exposure and early adversity on neurobehavioral disinhibition in childhood and adolescence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 July 2011

Philip A. Fisher
Affiliation:
Oregon Social Learning Center University of Oregon
Barry M. Lester
Affiliation:
Brown University
David S. DeGarmo
Affiliation:
Oregon Social Learning Center
Linda L. Lagasse
Affiliation:
Brown University
Hai Lin
Affiliation:
Brown University
Seetha Shankaran
Affiliation:
Wayne State University
Henrietta S. Bada
Affiliation:
University of Kentucky
Charles R. Bauer
Affiliation:
University of Miami
Jane Hammond
Affiliation:
Research Triangle Institute
Toni Whitaker
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee
Rosemary Higgins
Affiliation:
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

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 1,073 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.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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