Effects of Maternal Smoking while Pregnant on Child Outcomes in Adolescence: Results from a Prospective National Longitudinal Study
Charles Jones, University of Toronto
There is a large body of research on the effects of fetal and neonatal events on adolescent and adult outcomes. This paper uses data from a recent prospective and nationally representative longitudinal study in Canada NLSCY. Focusing on outcomes reported by ten to fourteen-year old children our results clearly demonstrate significant long-term effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy. Adolescents whose mothers had smoked while pregnant with them had worse scores on numerous self-report scales measuring both externalizing and internalizing disorders, including anxiety, self-image, general mood and various forms of aggression. These effects remain significant after controlling for birth weight, family structure and region but are attenuated when the socio-economic status of the child’s household is controlled through statistical adjustments. Further analysis demonstrates significant regional differences in maternal smoking during pregnancy as well as a secular trend towards a lesser incidence over the 1990s. Implications for provincial health policies are discussed.