Development of infants born to cocaine-abusing women: Biologic/maternal influences

  • Howard J
  • Beckwith L
  • Espinosa M
 et al. 
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This study investigated the influence of gestational age, birthweight, caregiving, and maternal personality characteristics on the development of 51 six-month-old infants born to and being reared by cocaine-abusing mothers. Two self-report measures were administered to the pregnant women at intake: the ASI (quantifying drug use) and the MCMI (describing DSM-III Axis II personality characteristics and Axis I clinical syndromes). Infants' biologic vulnerability was assessed by gestational age and birthweight. Caregiving was assessed 6 months later in the home, using the HOME Inventory and maternal caregiving behavior rating scales. Infant development was assessed in the laboratory at 6 months using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Higher Bayley scores were associated with heavier birthweight and increased maternal sensitivity. Furthermore, mothers of infants with shorter gestations were found to be more sensitive caregivers, whereas mothers who reported more histrionic-gregarious, narcissistic, borderline-cycloid, and/or paranoid personality characteristics during pregnancy were less sensitive caregivers. Surprisingly, mothers who reported more depressive symptoms during pregnancy provided more sensitive care. © 1995.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Birthweight
  • Caregiving behaviors
  • Child development
  • Gestational age
  • Perinatal addiction
  • Personality characteristics

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  • Judy Howard

  • Leila Beckwith

  • Michael Espinosa

  • Rachelle Tyler

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