Children of mothers abusing amphetamine: head circumference during infancy and psychosocial development until 14 years of age

Acta Paediatr. 2000 Dec;89(12):1474-8. doi: 10.1080/080352500456679.


Objective: To study the relationship between head circumference (HC) at birth (HO) and at 1 y of age (HI) and later outcome variables in children exposed to amphetamine during fetal life through maternal drug abuse.

Method: Prospective longitudinal study of 65 children born to women abusing amphetamine. Potential bivariate and partial correlations between HC and outcome variables at 4, 8 and 14 y of age were studied. In multivariate analyses on outcome variables, HC, maternal and perinatal factors were used as predictors. Analyses were performed for all children and separately for boys and girls.

Results: Head circumference at birth and 1 y of age were significant predictors for the level of achievement in Swedish language at 14 y. Head circumference at birth was a significant predictor for grades in mathematics in boys. Combined assessment of psychomotor development and psychosocial adjustment at 4 and 8 y correlated with HI in girls.

Conclusion: Head circumference at birth and at 1 y of age correlated with school achievement at 14 y. HI also correlated with adjustment at 4 and 8 y in girls. A difference in vulnerability between girls and boys is important and should be considered in longitudinal studies of risk cohorts.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amphetamines / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Distribution
  • Social Behavior
  • Substance-Related Disorders*


  • Amphetamines