A systematic review of challenging behaviors in children exposed prenatally to substances of abuse

Dennis R. Dixon, Patricia F. Kurtz, Michelle D. Chin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

A review of the existing literature on the occurrence of challenging behavior among children with prenatal drug exposure was conducted. While a large number of studies were identified that evaluated various outcomes of prenatal drug exposure, only 37 were found that directly evaluated challenging behaviors. Of the 37 studies, 23 focused on prenatal cocaine exposure, and 14 focused on prenatal alcohol exposure; most studies relied on broadband measures such as the CBCL for the assessment of challenging behavior. Among the 37 studies, a clear role for the postnatal environment on developing challenging behaviors was evident; however, prenatal alcohol exposure showed a much clearer independent effect upon challenging behaviors than was noted in the prenatal cocaine studies. Additionally, only 3 of the 37 studies addressed interventions for challenging behaviors, each of which showed an improvement in child behavior or parent-child interactions. As researchers have continued to show the importance of the postnatal environment, it is likely that interventions addressing specific environmental risk factors will be helpful to reduce or prevent challenging behaviors among this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-502
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

Keywords

  • Challenging behavior
  • Prenatal exposure
  • Review
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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