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Smoking during pregnancy associated with negative behavior in toddlers

Center for Advancing Health

Mothers who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have toddlers with negative behaviors than mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy, according to an article in the April issue of the American Medical Association Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a member of the Journal of the American Medical Association family of journals.

The researchers surveyed a community sample of 99 mothers of 2-year-old toddlers to study the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on her toddler's negative behavior. Fifty-two of the mothers smoked throughout pregnancy while 47 either stopped smoking during pregnancy or started smoking after childbirth.

A scale of negativity that considered impulsivity, risk taking and rebelliousness was used to determine the degree of negative behavior in toddlers. After controlling for factors known to be associated with negativity in toddlers, such as maternal age and use of alcohol, maternal smoking during pregnancy was related to negative behaviors in the toddler.

The authors speculate that a reduction in maternal smoking during pregnancy might be expected to lead to a decrease in the child's negativity.


Editor's Note: To contact lead author Judith S. Brook, EdD, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, call Debora Kaplan at 212-659-9045.

(Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2000;154:381-385)

For more information about the journal or to obtain a copy of the study, contact the American Medical Association's Amy Jenkins at 312-464-4843, e-mail:

Posted by the Center for the Advancement of Health For information about the Center, call Petrina Chong, 202-387-2829.

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