Vol. 3, No. 3, 1997 Page 7


Dutch researchers report a significant link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and aggression in children.

Jacob Orlebeke et al. reviewed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) scores of 1,377 three-year-old twin pairs. After controlling for birth weight, socioeconomic status, maternal age, and breast- or bottle-feeding, the researchers found that "there was a si i i ignificant effect of maternal smoking on so-called externalizing behavior problems (oppositional, aggressive, overactive), but not on internalizing behavior problems (withdrawn, depressed, anxious), in both first- and second-born twins." Most of the incre e e ease in externalizing behavior scores was due to aggression.

Noting that animals exposed to nicotine in utero show evidence of altered brain development, Orlebeke and colleagues speculate that "maternal smoking may directly affect structures in the central nervous system, thus leading to enhanced externalizing beha a a avior (aggression, more specifically) in the offspring."


"Increase in child behavior problems resulting from maternal smoking during pregnancy," Jacob F. Orlebeke, Dirk L. Knol, and Frank C. Verhulst, Archives of Environmental Health, Vol. 52, No. 4, July/Aug. 1997, pp. 317-321. Address: Jacob F. Orlebek k k ke, Free University, Dept. of Physiology Psychology, De Boelelaan 1111, 1081 HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Related Article: [1998, Vol. 4]

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