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Vol. 13, No. 2, 2007
Issue release date: March 2007

Developmental Outcome in Children with Intrauterine Exposure to Substances

Steinhausen H.-C. · Blattmann B. · Pfund F.
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Abstract

The developmental outcome of children born to Swiss substance-dependent mothers in a residential treatment program was studied in a sample of 61 children ranging from infancy to preadolescence (mean age = 5.10, SD = 3.10 years) by use of age-appropriate tests of intelligence. A large list of biological and psychosocial risk factors was tested for associations with outcome in the children. The mean profile of test findings across all age ranges was significantly lower than population norms and there was an excess of children with subnormal intellectual functioning. Performance IQ was associated negatively only with intrauterine substance exposure, but with none of the other risk factors. Among the various substances, predominantly heroin or methadone were responsible for this association when controls for nicotine or cannabis consumption were made. The study provides further evidence that intrauterine exposure to heroin and methadone negatively affects the developmental outcome in the offspring of substance-dependent mothers.



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