Lauren S Wakschlag

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States

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Publications (87)330.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Irritability is an aspect of the negative affectivity domain of temperament, but in severe and dysregulated forms is a symptom of a range of psychopathologies. Better understanding of the neural underpinnings of irritability, outside the context of specific disorders, can help to understand normative variation but also characterize its clinical salience in psychopathology diagnosis. This study assessed brain activation during reward and frustration, domains of behavioral deficits in childhood irritability. Children (age 6-9) presenting in mental health clinics for extreme and impairing irritability (n=26) were compared to healthy children (n=28). Using developmentally sensitive methods, neural activation was measured via a negative mood induction paradigm during fMRI scanning. The clinical group displayed more activation of the anterior cingulate and middle frontal gyrus during reward, but less activation during frustration, than healthy comparison children. The opposite pattern was found in the posterior cingulate. Further, in clinical subjects, parent report of irritability was dimensionally related to decreased activation of the anterior cingulate and striatum during frustration. The results of this study indicate neural dysfunction within brain regions related to reward processing, error monitoring, and emotion regulation underlying clinically impairing irritability. Results are discussed in the context of a growing field of neuroimaging research investigating irritable children. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
    07/2015; 14:71-80. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2015.07.003
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Smoking cessation during pregnancy may reflect altruistic motives on behalf of the unborn baby. We test the hypothesis that pregnancy quitters have higher maternal-fetal attachment than persistent smokers, and secondarily explore how maternal-fetal attachment differs among non-smokers, pregnancy quitters, and persistent smokers. Methods: Participants were 156 women in the Behavior and Mood in Babies and Mothers study who provided report of smoking throughout pregnancy via timeline follow back interviews, with salivary cotinine confirmation of reported cessation at 30 and 35 week gestation, and postpartum day one. Maternal Fetal Attachment Scale total and subscale scores (role-taking, differentiation of self from fetus, interaction with fetus, attributing characteristics to fetus, giving of self) were examined among non-smokers, pregnancy quitters, and persistent smokers. Results: At 30 weeks, pregnancy quitters scored higher on the 'giving of self' subscale compared to persistent smokers (21.6±2.4 versus 19.9±2.9; p=.004). Maternal 'giving of self' also differentiated pregnancies exposed to cigarette smoking from those without exposure from 30 weeks through delivery (19.9±2.9 versus 21.2±2.2; p=.002). Controlling for age, income, unemployment, gravida, and father's smoking status, 'giving of self' differentiated pregnancy quitters from persistent smokers [OR=5.144; 95% C.I. 1.509 - 17.538; B (SE)=1.638 (.626); p=.009]. Conclusions: Women who reported a greater desire to maintain their personal health for the health of their fetus were more likely to quit smoking during pregnancy. Implications of findings for interventions and understanding mechanisms of risk are discussed.
    Addictive Behaviors 06/2015; 45. DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.01.028 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of dimensional approaches is widely recognized, but an empirical base for clinical application is lacking. This is particularly true for irritability, a dimensional phenotype that cuts across many areas of psychopathology and manifests early in life. We examine longitudinal, dimensional patterns of irritability and their clinical import in early childhood. Irritability was assessed longitudinally over an average of 16 months in a clinically enriched, diverse community sample of preschoolers (N = 497; mean = 4.2 years; SD = 0.8). Using the Temper Loss scale of the Multidimensional Assessment Profile of Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB) as a developmentally sensitive indicator of early childhood irritability, we examined its convergent/divergent, clinical, and incremental predictive validity, and modeled its linear and nonlinear associations with clinical risk. The Temper Loss scale demonstrated convergent and divergent validity to child and maternal factors. In multivariate analyses, Temper Loss predicted mood (separation anxiety disorder [SAD], generalized anxiety disorder [GAD], and depression/dysthymia), disruptive (oppositional defiant disorder [ODD], attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], and conduct disorder [CD]) symptoms. Preschoolers with even mildly elevated Temper Loss scale scores showed substantially increased risk of symptoms and disorders. For ODD, GAD, SAD, and depression, increases in Temper Loss scale scores at the higher end of the dimension had a greater impact on symptoms relative to increases at the lower end. Temper Loss scale scores also showed incremental validity over DSM-IV disorders in predicting subsequent impairment. Finally, accounting for the substantial heterogeneity in longitudinal patterns of Temper Loss significantly improved prediction of mood and disruptive symptoms. Dimensional, longitudinal characterization of irritability informs clinical prediction. A vital next step will be empirically generating parameters for the incorporation of dimensional information into clinical decision-making with reasonable certainty. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. All rights reserved.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 06/2015; 54(8). DOI:10.1016/j.jaac.2015.05.016 · 7.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Contextual variation in child disruptive behavior is well documented but remains poorly understood. We first examine how variation in observed disruptive behavior across interactional contexts is associated with maternal reports of contextual variation in oppositional-defiant behavior and functional impairment. Second, we test whether child inhibitory control explains the magnitude of contextual variation in observed disruptive behavior. Participants are 497 young children (mean age = 4 years, 11 months) from a subsample of the MAPS, a sociodemographically diverse pediatric sample, enriched for risk of disruptive behavior. Observed anger modulation and behavioral regulation problems were coded on the Disruptive Behavior Diagnostic Observation Schedule (DB-DOS) during interactions with parent and examiner. Oppositional-defiant behavior, and impairment in relationships, with parents and nonparental adults, were measured with the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA) interview with the mother. Functional impairment in the home and out-and-about was assessed with the Family Life Impairment Scale (FLIS), and expulsion from child care/school was measured with the baseline survey and FLIS. Observed disruptive behavior on the DB-DOS Parent Context was associated with oppositional-defiant behavior with parents, and with impairment at home and out-and-about. Observed disruptive behavior with the Examiner was associated with oppositional-defiant behavior with both parents and nonparental adults, impairment in relationships with nonparental adults, and child care/school expulsion. Differences in observed disruptive behavior in the Parent versus Examiner Contexts was related to the differences in maternal reports of oppositional-defiant behavior with parents versus nonparental adults. Children with larger decreases in disruptive behavior from Parent to Examiner Context had better inhibitory control and fewer attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms. The DB-DOS showed clinical utility in a community sample for identifying contextual variation that maps onto reported oppositional-defiant behavior and functioning across contexts. Elucidating the implications of contextual variation for early identification and targeted prevention is an important area for future research. © 2015 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 06/2015; 56(9). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12430 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    J Hutchinson · K E Pickett · J Green · L S Wakschlag
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    ABSTRACT: Identifying anxiety disorders in preschool-age children represents an important clinical challenge. Observation is essential to clinical assessment and can help differentiate normative variation from clinically significant anxiety. Yet, most anxiety assessment methods for young children rely on parent-reports. The goal of this article is to present and preliminarily test the reliability and validity of a novel observational paradigm for assessing a range of fearful and anxious behaviors in young children, the Anxiety Dimensional Observation Schedule (Anx-DOS). A diverse sample of 403 children, aged 3 to 6 years, and their mothers was studied. Reliability and validity in relation to parent reports (Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment) and known risk factors, including indicators of behavioral inhibition (latency to touch novel objects) and attention bias to threat (in the dot-probe task) were investigated. The Anx-DOS demonstrated good inter-rater reliability and internal consistency. Evidence for convergent validity was demonstrated relative to mother-reported separation anxiety, social anxiety, phobic avoidance, trauma symptoms, and past service use. Finally, fearfulness was associated with observed latency and attention bias toward threat. Findings support the Anx-DOS as a method for capturing early manifestations of fearfulness and anxiety in young children. Multimethod assessments incorporating standardized methods for assessing discrete, observable manifestations of anxiety may be beneficial for early identification and clinical intervention efforts. © 2015 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 03/2015; 56(9). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12407 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Young children living with intimate partner violence (IPV) are often also exposed to harsh parenting. Both forms of violence increase children's risk for clinically significant disruptive behavior, which can place them on a developmental trajectory associated with serious psychological impairment later in life. Although it is hypothesized that IPV behaviors may spillover into harsh parenting, and thereby influence risk for disruptive behavior, relatively little is known about these processes in families with young children. The current study examines the overlap of the quality and frequency of psychological and physical forms of IPV and harsh parenting, and tests whether harsh parenting mediates the relationship between IPV and child disruptive behavior in a diverse cross-sectional sample of 81 children ages 4 to 6 years. Results suggest that mothers reporting a greater occurrence of psychologically aggressive IPV (e.g., yelling, name-calling) more often engage in psychological and physical aggression toward their children (odds ratios [ORs] = 4.6-9.9). Mothers reporting a greater occurrence of IPV in the form of physical assault more often engage in mild to more severe forms of physical punishment with potential harm to the child (ORs = 3.8-5.0). Psychological and physical forms of IPV and harsh parenting all significantly correlated with maternal reports of child disruptive behavior (r = .29-.40). Psychological harsh parenting partially mediated the association between psychological IPV and child disruptive behavior. However, a significant direct effect of psychological IPV on preschool children's disruptive behavior remained. Implications for child welfare policy and practice and intervention, including the need for increased awareness of the negative impact of psychological IPV on young children, are discussed. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Journal of Interpersonal Violence 02/2015; DOI:10.1177/0886260515572472 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Bipolar disorder (BD) is highly familial, but studies have yet to examine preschoolers at risk for BD using standardized, developmentally appropriate clinical assessment tools. We used such methods to test whether preschoolers at familial risk for BD have more observed difficulty modulating emotions and behaviors than do low-risk preschoolers. Identification of emotional and behavioral difficulties in at-risk preschoolers is crucial for developing new approaches for early intervention and prevention of BD.Methods Using the standardized disruptive behavior diagnostic observation schedule (DB-DOS) protocol for preschoolers, we compared 23 preschoolers (Mage: 4.53 ± 0.73 years; 18 males) with a first-degree relative with BD to 21 preschoolers (Mage: 4.65 ± 0.84 years; 11 males) without a family history of BD. We characterized psychopathology in this sample using the Preschool Aged Psychiatric Assessment and behavioral and emotional problems using the Child Behavior Checklist.ResultsHigh-risk preschoolers demonstrated significantly more intense, pervasive, and clinically concerning problems in anger modulation and behavior dysregulation on the DB-DOS than the low-risk group. High-risk relative to low-risk preschoolers, were also more likely to have maternal-reported anxiety and oppositional defiant disorders and internalizing and externalizing problems.Conclusions Clinically concerning problems in anger modulation and behavior regulation, measured during standardized laboratory observation, differentiate preschoolers at high familial risk for BD from those at low risk. Investigation in a large longitudinal sample is critical for replication and for determining whether these observed behavioral differences can be reliably used as prodromal indicators of mood disorders.
    Depression and Anxiety 02/2015; 32(5). DOI:10.1002/da.22342 · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Attention bias toward threat is associated with anxiety in older youth and adults and has been linked with violence exposure. Attention bias may moderate the relationship between violence exposure and anxiety in young children. Capitalizing on measurement advances, this study examines these relationships at a younger age than previously possible.Methods Young children (mean age 4.7, ±0.8) from a cross-sectional sample oversampled for violence exposure (N = 218) completed the dot-probe task to assess their attention biases. Observed fear/anxiety was characterized with a novel observational paradigm, the Anxiety Dimensional Observation Scale. Mother-reported symptoms were assessed with the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment and Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children. Violence exposure was characterized with dimensional scores reflecting probability of membership in two classes derived via latent class analysis from the Conflict Tactics Scales: Abuse and Harsh Parenting.ResultsFamily violence predicted greater child anxiety and trauma symptoms. Attention bias moderated the relationship between violence and anxiety.Conclusions Attention bias toward threat may strengthen the effects of family violence on the development of anxiety, with potentially cascading effects across childhood. Such associations may be most readily detected when using observational measures of childhood anxiety.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 02/2015; DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12397 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 12/2014; 24(1). DOI:10.1007/s00787-014-0665-1 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Impairment in learning from punishment ("punishment insensitivity") is an established feature of severe antisocial behavior in adults and youth but it has not been well studied as a developmental phenomenon. In early childhood, differentiating a normal: abnormal spectrum of punishment insensitivity is key for distinguishing normative misbehavior from atypical manifestations. This study employed a novel measure, the Multidimensional Assessment Profile of Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB), to examine the distribution, dimensionality, and external validity of punishment insensitivity in a large, demographically diverse community sample of preschoolers (3-5 years) recruited from pediatric clinics (N = 1,855). Caregivers completed surveys from which a seven-item Punishment Insensitivity scale was derived. Findings indicated that Punishment Insensitivity behaviors are relatively common in young children, with at least 50 % of preschoolers exhibiting them sometimes. Item response theory analyses revealed a Punishment Insensitivity spectrum. Items varied along a severity continuum: most items needed to occur "Often" in order to be severe and behaviors that were qualitatively atypical or intense were more severe. Although there were item-level differences across sociodemographic groups, these were small. Construct, convergent, and divergent validity were demonstrated via association to low concern for others and noncompliance, motivational regulation, and a disruptive family context. Incremental clinical utility was demonstrated in relation to impairment. Early childhood punishment insensitivity varies along a severity continuum and is atypical when it predominates. Implications for understanding the phenomenology of emergent disruptive behavior are discussed.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014; 43(6). DOI:10.1007/s10802-014-9950-1 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal smoking cessation has been described as an empathic action "for the baby," but this has not been empirically demonstrated. We capitalized on a genetically-characterized extant dataset with outstanding measurement of prenatal smoking patterns and maternal face processing data (as an indicator of empathy) to test this hypothesis, and explore how empathy and smoking patterns may be moderated by a genetic substrate of empathy, the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Participants were 143Caucasian women from the East Boston family study with repeated prospective reports of smoking level, adjusted based on repeated cotinine bioassays. Salivary DNA and face processing (Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy-2) were assessed 14 years later at an adolescent follow-up of offspring. Two-thirds of participants reported smoking prior to pregnancy recognition. Of these, 21% quit during pregnancy; 56% reduced smoking, and 22% smoked persistently at the same level. A significant interaction between face processing and OXTR variants previously associated with increased sensitivity to social context, rs53576GG and rs2254298A, was found (beta =-.181; p =.015); greater ability to identify distress in others was associated with lower levels of smoking during pregnancy for rs53576(GG)/rs2254298(A) individuals (p = .013), but not for other genotypes (p = .892). Testing this "empathy hypothesis of prenatal smoking cessation" in larger studies designed to examine this question can elucidate whether interventions to enhance empathy can improve prenatal smoking cessation rates.
    Neuroscience Letters 11/2014; 584(584):259-264. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2014.10.049 · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Comprehensive assessments that include parents and teachers are essential when assessing young children vulnerable to emotional and behavioral problems given the multiple systems and contexts that influence and support optimal development (U. Bronfenbrenner & P. A. Morris, 2006; M. J. Guralnick, 2011). However, more data complicate clinical and educational decision making given the challenge of integrating comprehensive data. We report on initial efforts to develop and apply Integrative Consensus procedures designed to synthesize comprehensive assessment data using developmentally informed guidelines. Mother-teacher dyads (N = 295) reported on disruptive behavior in a sample of 295 low-income 3- to 5-year-olds; one-third referred for disruptive behaviors, one-third nonreferred with behavioral concerns, and one-third nonreferred. Two clinicians trained in Integrative Consensus procedures independently applied the framework, with findings highlighting that children identified as disruptive by Integrative Consensus ratings plus mother or teacher ratings significantly predicted behavior problems and impaired social skills. Children identified as disruptive via Integrative Consensus were 4 times more likely to be rated as impaired by their mother at follow-up than by mother or teacher report. Reliability estimates were high ( = 0.84), suggesting that the method has promise for identifying young children with behavior problems while systematically integrating comprehensive data.
    Infants and young children 04/2014; 27(2):92-110. DOI:10.1097/IYC.0000000000000008 · 0.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dimensional approaches are gaining scientific traction. However, their potential for elucidating developmental aspects of psychopathology has not been fully realized. The goal of this article is to apply a multidimensional, developmental framework to model the normal-abnormal spectrum of preschool disruptive behavior. The Multidimensional Assessment of Preschool Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB), a novel measure, was used to model dimensional severity across developmental parameters theorized to distinguish the normative misbehavior of early childhood from clinically salient disruptive behavior. The 4 MAP-DB dimensions are Temper Loss, Noncompliance, Aggression, and Low Concern for Others. Parents of a diverse sample of 1,488 preschoolers completed the MAP-DB. Multidimensional item response theory (IRT) was used for dimensional modeling. The 4-dimensional, developmentally informed model demonstrated excellent fit. Its factor loadings did not differ across demographic subgroups. All dimensions provided good coverage of the abnormal end of the severity continuum, but only Temper Loss and Noncompliance provided good coverage of milder, normatively occurring behaviors. The developmental expectability and quality of behaviors distinguished normative from atypical behaviors. The point at which frequency of behaviors was atypical varied based on dimensional location for Temper Loss, Noncompliance, and Aggression. The MAP-DB provides an innovative method for operationalizing developmentally specified, dimensional phenotypes in early childhood. Establishing the validity of these dimensional phenotypes in relation to clinical outcomes, neurocognitive substrates, and etiologic pathways will be a crucial test of their clinical utility.
    Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 01/2014; 53(1):82-96.e3. DOI:10.1016/j.jaac.2013.10.011 · 7.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal tobacco exposure (PTE) has a well-documented association with disruptive behavior in childhood, but the neurocognitive effects of exposure that underlie this link are not sufficiently understood. The present study was designed to address this gap, through longitudinal follow-up in early childhood of a prospectively enrolled cohort with well-characterized prenatal exposure. Three-year-old children ( n = 151) were assessed using a developmentally sensitive battery capturing both cognitive and motivational aspects of self-regulation. PTE was related to motivational self-regulation, where children had to delay approach to attractive rewards, but not cognitive self-regulation, where children had to hold information in mind and inhibit prepotent motor responses. Furthermore, PTE predicted motivational self-regulation more strongly in boys than in girls, and when propensity scores were covaried to control for confounding risk factors, the effect of PTE on motivational self-regulation was significant only in boys. These findings suggest that PTE's impact on neurodevelopment may be greater in boys than in girls, perhaps reflecting vulnerability in neural circuits that subserve reward sensitivity and emotion regulation, and may also help to explain why PTE is more consistently related to disruptive behavior disorders than attention problems.
    Development and Psychopathology 01/2014; 27(02). DOI:10.1017/S095457941500005X · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Externalizing behaviors (encompassing antisocial, impulsive, and substance use behaviors) are pervasive and impairing across a multitude of settings and developmental contexts. These behaviors, though often investigated separately, are highly comorbid. Prenatal tobacco exposure in interaction with various genetic influences has predicted later externalizing behavior, and recent evidence supports investigating sex differences in these patterns. In the current study, we extend this work by (a) examining two functional genetic markers in the dopamine system: the transporter gene (DAT1) and the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4) in interaction with prenatal tobacco exposure to predict a latent composite of externalizing behavior and (b) testing whether these patterns differ by sex of youth in a community sample of adolescents (n=176). The relatively small sample is partially offset by high quality, multi-method prospective measurement. We assessed prenatal tobacco exposure using prospective repeated cotinine-corrected reports and externalizing behaviors were assessed utilizing multiple measures across three waves. The interaction between DAT1 (but not DRD4) and prenatal tobacco exposure was statistically significant in boys, and patterns appeared to differ by sex. Risk for externalizing behaviors for exposed boys increased linearly as a function of the 10r DAT1 allele. For exposed girls, there was a trend such that DAT1heterozygotes had a marginally higher risk than homozygotes. This pattern was not explained by passive gene-environment correlation. Elucidating sex-specific pathways through which early adverse exposures and genetic susceptibilities contribute to externalizing behavior can inform early targeted prevention efforts for those children at highest risk.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 09/2013; 40. DOI:10.1016/ · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Youth and adults with psychopathic traits display disrupted reinforcement learning. Advances in measurement now enable examination of this association in preschoolers. The current study examines relations between reinforcement learning in preschoolers and parent ratings of reduced responsiveness to socialization, conceptualized as a developmental vulnerability to psychopathic traits. One hundred and fifty-seven preschoolers (mean age 4.7 ± 0.8 years) participated in a substudy that was embedded within a larger project. Children completed the 'Stars-in-Jars' task, which involved learning to select rewarded jars and avoid punished jars. Maternal report of responsiveness to socialization was assessed with the Punishment Insensitivity and Low Concern for Others scales of the Multidimensional Assessment of Preschool Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB). Punishment Insensitivity, but not Low Concern for Others, was significantly associated with reinforcement learning in multivariate models that accounted for age and sex. Specifically, higher Punishment Insensitivity was associated with significantly lower overall performance and more errors on punished trials ('passive avoidance'). Impairments in reinforcement learning manifest in preschoolers who are high in maternal ratings of Punishment Insensitivity. If replicated, these findings may help to pinpoint the neurodevelopmental antecedents of psychopathic tendencies and suggest novel intervention targets beginning in early childhood.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 08/2013; 55(2). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12132 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Maternal smoking during pregnancy (MSP) is a known risk factor for regular smoking in young adulthood and may pose a risk independently of mother's lifetime smoking. The processes through which MSP exerts this influence are unknown but may occur through greater smoking quantity and frequency following initiation early in adolescence or increased sensitivity to nicotine dependence (ND) at low levels of smoking. Methods: This study used path analysis to investigate adolescent smoking quantity, smoking frequency, and ND as potential simultaneous mediating pathways through which MSP and mother's lifetime smoking (whether she has ever smoked) increase the risk of smoking in young adulthood among experimenters (at baseline, <100 cigarettes/lifetime) and current smokers (>100 cigarettes/lifetime). Results: For experimenters, MSP was directly associated with more frequent young adult smoking and was not mediated by adolescent smoking behavior or ND. Independently of MSP, the effect of mother's lifetime smoking was fully mediated through frequent smoking and was heightened ND during adolescence. Controlling for MSP eliminated a previously observed direct association between mother's lifetime smoking and future smoking among experimenters. For current smokers, only prior smoking behavior was associated with future smoking frequency. Conclusions: These results seem to rule out sensitivity to ND and increased smoking behavior as contributing pathways of MSP. Further, the impact of MSP on young adult smoking extends beyond that of having an ever-smoking mother. Future work should test other possible mediators; for example, MSP-related epigenetic changes or gene variants influencing the brain's nicotine response.
    Nicotine & Tobacco Research 06/2013; 15(11). DOI:10.1093/ntr/ntt072 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    Mini Tandon · Xuemei Si · Andy Belden · Ed Spitznagel · Lauren S Wakschlag · Joan Luby
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    ABSTRACT: The present investigation compared parenting practices in a sample of preschoolers whose mothers reported smoking during pregnancy versus those who did not. A sample of n = 216, 3.0- to 5.11-year-old children, participants in an ongoing longitudinal study, was separated into those reportedly exposed to smoking in utero and those who were not. Parenting practices were compared between the two groups, using T-tests and exact logistic regressions. Multiple linear regressions and multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine the association between smoking status and parenting, controlling for variables also known to be associated with parenting practices. Current study findings suggest that smoking during pregnancy is associated with harsh parenting practices. Study results highlight the possible role of parenting in disruptive outcomes well-known in toddlers exposed to nicotine in utero and have implications for targeting early interventions in these populations.
    Journal of Clinical Medicine Research 04/2013; 5(2):84-91. DOI:10.4021/jocmr1283w
  • Melanie J Richmond · Robin J Mermelstein · Lauren S Wakschlag
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    ABSTRACT: This longitudinal study examined how observations of parental general communication style and control with their adolescents predicted changes in negative affect over time for adolescent smokers and nonsmokers. Participants were 9th- and 10th-grade adolescents (N = 111; 56.8% female) who had all experimented with cigarettes and were thus at risk for continued smoking and escalation; 36% of these adolescents (n = 40) had smoked in the past month at baseline and were considered smokers in the present analyses. Adolescents participated separately with mothers and fathers in observed parent-adolescent problem-solving discussions to assess parenting at baseline. Adolescent negative affect was assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 24 months via ecological momentary assessment. Among both smoking and nonsmoking adolescents, escalating negative affect significantly increased risk for future smoking. Higher quality maternal and paternal communication predicted a decline in negative affect over 1.5 years for adolescent smokers but was not related to negative affect for nonsmokers. Controlling maternal, but not paternal, parenting predicted escalation in negative affect for all adolescents. Findings suggest that reducing negative affect among experimenting youth can reduce risk for smoking escalation. Therefore, family-based prevention efforts for adolescent smoking escalation might consider parental general communication style and control as intervention targets. However, adolescent smoking status and parent gender may moderate these effects.
    Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 11/2012; 42(5). DOI:10.1080/15374416.2012.738452 · 1.92 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
330.12 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2015
    • Northwestern University
      • • Institute for Policy Research (IPR)
      • • Department of Medical Social Sciences
      Evanston, Illinois, United States
    • The University of Chicago Medical Center
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Massachusetts Medical School
      • Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
      Worcester, MA, United States
  • 2005–2012
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • Institute for Juvenile Research
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 1991–2007
    • University of Chicago
      • • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
      • • Department of Health Studies
      Chicago, Illinois, United States