[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined the direct and indirect associations between maternal cocaine use during pregnancy and mother-toddler aggression in an interactive context at 2 years of child age. We hypothesized that in addition to direct effects of cocaine exposure on maternal and child aggression, the association between maternal cocaine use and mother-toddler aggression may be indirect via higher maternal psychiatric symptoms, negative affect, or poor infant autonomic regulation at 13 months. Participants consisted of 220 (119 cocaine exposed, 101 non-cocaine exposed) mother-toddler dyads participating in an ongoing longitudinal study of prenatal cocaine exposure. Results indicated that mothers who used cocaine during pregnancy displayed higher levels of aggression toward their toddlers compared to mothers in the control group. Results from model testing indicated significant indirect associations between maternal cocaine use and maternal aggression via higher maternal negative affect as well as lower infant autonomic regulation at 13 months. Although there were no direct associations between cocaine exposure and toddler aggression, there was a significant indirect effect via lower infant autonomic regulation at 13 months. Results highlight the importance of including maternal aggression in predictive models of prenatal cocaine exposure examining child aggression. Results also emphasize the important role of infant regulation as a mechanism partially explaining associations between cocaine exposure and mother-toddler aggression.
Neurotoxicology and Teratology 03/2011; 33(3):360-9. · 3.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to test a conceptual model predicting children's anxiety/depression in middle childhood in a community sample of children with parents who had alcohol problems (n = 112) and those without alcohol problems (n = 101). The conceptual model examined the role of parents' alcohol diagnoses, depression, and antisocial behavior among parents of children ages 12 months to kindergarten age in predicting marital aggression and parental aggravation. Higher levels of marital aggression and parental aggravation were hypothesized to predict children's depression/anxiety within time (18 months to kindergarten age and, prospectively, to age during fourth grade).
The sample was recruited from New York State birth records when the children were 12 months old. Assessments were conducted at 12, 18, 24, and 36 months; at kindergarten age; and during fourth grade.
Children with alcoholic fathers had higher depression/anxiety scores according to parental reports but not self-reports. Structural equations modeling was largely supportive of the conceptual model. Fathers' alcoholism was associated with higher child anxiety via greater levels of marital aggression among families with alcohol problems. Results also indicated that there was a significant indirect association between parents' depression symptoms and child anxiety via marital aggression.
The results highlight the nested nature of risk characteristics in alcoholic families and the important role of marital aggression in predicting children's anxiety/depression. Interventions targeting both parents' alcohol problems and associated marital aggression are likely to provide the dual benefits of improving family interactions and lowering risk of children's internalizing behavior problems.
Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs 10/2009; 70(5):741-50. · 1.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study tested a conceptual model predicting children's social competence in a sample of children with alcoholic and non-alcoholic parents. The model examined the role of parents' alcohol diagnoses, depression, and antisocial behavior at 12-18 months of child age in predicting parental warmth/sensitivity at 2 years of child age. Parental warmth/sensitivity at 2 years was hypothesized to predict children's self-regulation and externalizing behavior problems at 3 years. Parenting, self-regulation, and behavior problems were expected to predict social competence in kindergarten. Structural equations modeling was supportive of this model. Fathers' alcohol diagnosis was associated with lower warmth/sensitivity. Lower maternal warmth/sensitivity at 2 years was predictive of lower child self-regulation at 3 years. Parenting, self-regulation, and externalizing behavior problems were predictive of social competence in kindergarten, although associations varied by reporter (parents or teacher). There was a direct association between fathers' alcohol diagnosis and father reports of social competence, and between fathers' depression and teacher reports of social competence. The study elucidates developmental processes in predicting social competence and the role of fathers' alcoholism and associated risk factors in this process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 04/2009; 23(1):36-46. · 2.09 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the role of prenatal cocaine exposure and associated risk factors on infant reactivity and regulation at 7 months of infant age. Participants consisted of 167 mother-infant dyads participating in an ongoing longitudinal study of prenatal cocaine exposure, who completed the arm restraint procedure at the 7-month assessment (87 cocaine exposed, 80 non-cocaine exposed). We hypothesized that cocaine exposed infants would display higher arousal or reactivity and lower regulation during a procedure designed to arouse anger/frustration. Results indicated that cocaine exposed infants were more reactive to increases in the level of stress from trial 1 to trial 2 but exhibited no change in the number of regulatory strategies as stress increased, unlike the control group infants. Infant birth weight moderated the association between cocaine exposure and infant regulation. Among cocaine exposed infants, those with lower birth weight displayed higher reactivity compared to those with higher birth weight. Contrary to expectations, there were no indirect effects between cocaine exposure and infant reactivity/regulation via environmental risk, parenting, or birth weight. Results are supportive of a teratological model of prenatal cocaine exposure for infant reactivity/regulation in infancy.
Neurotoxicology and Teratology 10/2008; 31(1):60-8. · 3.18 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examined the development of aggressive and oppositional behavior among alcoholic and nonalcoholic families using latent growth modeling. The sample consisted of 226 families assessed at 18, 24, 36, and 48 months of child age. Results indicated that children in families with nonalcoholic parents had the lowest levels of aggressive behavior at all time points compared to children with one or more alcoholic parents. Children in families with two alcoholic parents did not exhibit normative decreases in aggressive behavior from 3 to 4 years of age compared to nonalcoholic families. However, this association was no longer significant once a cumulative family risk score was added to the model. Children in families with high cumulative risk scores, reflective of high parental depression, antisocial behavior, negative affect during play, difficult child temperament, marital conflict, fathers' education, and hours spent in child care, had higher levels of aggression at 18 months than children in low risk families. These associations were moderated by child gender. Boys had higher levels of aggressive behavior at all ages than girls, regardless of group status. Cumulative risk was predictive of higher levels of initial aggressive behavior in both girls and boys. However, boys with two alcoholic parents had significantly less of a decline in aggression from 36 to 48 months compared to boys in the nonalcoholic group.