Vol. 10, No. 4, 2004 Page 7


Boys chronically exposed to cocaine before birth are more likely than other boys to exhibit behavior problems in school, according to a new study.

Virginia Delaney-Black et al. evaluated 473 children between the ages of six and seven, of whom about 200 were prenatally exposed to cocaine. Those whose mothers tested positive for cocaine in the urine at the time of birth were considered to be "persistently" exposed.

Using teacher evaluations, the researchers determined that boys persistently exposed to cocaine before birth had more behavioral problems, deficits in abstract thinking, and impairments in motor skills than children who were not exposed. These effects, they say, were "moderate to large." No similar effects were seen in cocaine-exposed girls.


"Prenatal cocaine: quantity of exposure and gender moderation," V. Delaney-Black, C. Covington, B. Nordstrom, J. Ager, J. Janisse, J. Hannigan, L. Chiodo, and R. Sokol, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Vol. 25, August 2004, 254-63.

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