Behavioral outcome of preschoolers exposed prenatally to cocaine: Role of maternal behavioral health

Veronica H. Accornero, Connie E. Morrow, Emmalee S. Bandstra, Arnise L. Johnson, James C. Anthony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the impact of prenatal cocaine exposure and maternal behavioral health (recent drug use and psychological functioning) on child behavior at age 5 years. Method: In this longitudinal investigation, maternal report of child behavior was assessed using the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) in 140 cocaine-exposed and 181 noncocaine-exposed (61 alcohol, tobacco, and/or marijuana-exposed, and 120 nondrug-exposed) low-income, African American children. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate suspected causal relationships between indicators of maternal behavioral health at 5-year follow-up, according to self-report on a modified Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and CBCL scores. Results: Prenatal cocaine exposure was not related to child behavior at age 5. Recent maternal drug use and psychological functioning had relationships with CBCL Internalizing and Externalizing scores. However, when considered within a combined model, only maternal psychological functioning remained significant. Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of maternal functioning in the behavioral outcome of children exposed prenatally to cocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • CBCL
  • Child behavior
  • Prenatal cocaine exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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