Disentangling the relationships between maternal smoking during pregnancy and co-occurring risk factors. Psychol Med

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.
Psychological Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.94). 11/2011; 42(7):1547-57. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291711002534
Source: PubMed


Maternal smoking during pregnancy (SDP) has been studied extensively as a risk factor for adverse offspring outcomes and is known to co-occur with other familial risk factors. Accounting for general familial risk factors has attenuated associations between SDP and adverse offspring outcomes, and identifying these confounds will be crucial to elucidating the relationship between SDP and its psychological correlates.
The current study aimed to disentangle the relationship between maternal SDP and co-occurring risk factors (maternal criminal activity, drug problems, teen pregnancy, educational attainment, and cohabitation at childbirth) using a population-based sample of full- (n=206 313) and half-sister pairs (n=19 363) from Sweden. Logistic regression models estimated the strength of association between SDP and co-occurring risk factors. Bivariate behavioral genetic models estimated the degree to which associations between SDP and co-occurring risk factors are attributable to genetic and environmental factors.
Maternal SDP was associated with an increase in all co-occurring risk factors. Of the variance associated with SDP, 45% was attributed to genetic factors and 53% was attributed to unshared environmental factors. In bivariate models, genetic factors accounted for 21% (non-drug-, non-violence-related crimes) to 35% (drug-related crimes) of the covariance between SDP and co-occurring risk factors. Unshared environmental factors accounted for the remaining covariance.
The genetic factors that influence a woman's criminal behavior, substance abuse and her offspring's rearing environment all influence SDP. Therefore, the intergenerational transmission of genes conferring risk for antisocial behavior and substance misuse may influence the associations between maternal SDP and adverse offspring outcomes.

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    • "More often, prenatal and genetic influences partially overlap when predicting behavior (e.g., Ellingson et al. 2012; Maughan et al. 2004). Evidence from the adoption sample used in the current study suggests that genetic influences are associated with experiencing prenatal risk and that prenatal risk can mediate genetic influences on toddler behavior (Marceau et al. 2013a; Pemberton et al. 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research suggests that genetic, prenatal, endocrine, and parenting influences across development individually contribute to internalizing and externalizing problems in children. The present study tests the combined contributions of genetic risk for psychopathology, prenatal environments (maternal drug use and internalizing symptoms), child cortisol at age 4.5 years, and overreactive parenting influences across childhood on 6-year-old children's internalizing and externalizing problems. We used data from an adoption design that included 361 domestically adopted children and their biological and adopted parents prospectively followed from birth. Only parenting influences contributed (independently) to externalizing problems. However, genetic influences were indirectly associated with internalizing problems (through increased prenatal risk and subsequent morning cortisol), and parenting factors were both directly and indirectly associated with internalizing problems (through morning cortisol). Results suggest that prenatal maternal drug use/symptoms and children's morning cortisol levels are mechanisms of genetic and environmental influences on internalizing problems, but not externalizing problems, in childhood.
    Behavior Genetics 10/2014; 45(3). DOI:10.1007/s10519-014-9689-z · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Researchers have identified environmental risks that predict subsequent psychological and medical problems. Based on these correlational findings, researchers have developed and tested complex developmental models and have examined biological moderating factors (e.g., gene-environment interactions). In this context, we stress the critical need for researchers to use family-based, quasi-experimental designs when trying to integrate genetic and social science research involving environmental variables because these designs rigorously examine causal inferences by testing competing hypotheses. We argue that sibling comparison, offspring of twins or siblings, in vitro fertilization designs, and other genetically informed approaches play a unique role in bridging gaps between basic biological and social science research. We use studies on maternal smoking during pregnancy to exemplify these principles. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 8, 2013: e1-e10. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301252).
    American Journal of Public Health 08/2013; 103(S1). DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301252 · 4.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with a number of adverse externalizing outcomes for offspring from childhood to adulthood. The relationship between maternal smoking and bipolar disorder in offspring, which includes externalizing symptoms among its many manifestations, has not been investigated in depth. The authors examined whether offspring exposed to maternal smoking in utero would be at increased lifetime risk for bipolar disorder after accounting for other factors related to maternal smoking. Method: Individuals with bipolar disorder (N=79) were ascertained from the birth cohort of the Child Health and Development Study. Case subjects were identified by a combination of clinical, database, and direct mailing sources; all case subjects were directly interviewed and diagnosed using DSM-IV criteria. Comparison subjects (N=654) were matched to case subjects on date of birth (±30 days), sex, membership in the cohort at the time of illness onset, and availability of maternal archived sera. Results: After adjusting for potential confounders, offspring exposed to in utero maternal smoking exhibited a twofold greater risk for bipolar disorder (odds ratio=2.014, 95% confidence interval=1.48-2.53, p=0.01). The associations were noted primarily among bipolar offspring without psychotic features. Conclusions: Prenatal tobacco exposure may be one suspected cause of bipolar disorder. However, it will be necessary to account for other unmeasured familial factors before causal teratogenic effects can be suggested.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 10/2013; 170(10):1178-1185. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12121500 · 12.30 Impact Factor
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