Evaluation of psychopathological conditions in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure

Pediatrics. 2007 Mar;119(3):e733-41. doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-1606.


Objective: This study compared the prevalence of psychopathological conditions in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (N = 39) and nonexposed, typically developing peers (N = 30), matched with respect to age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Methods: Caregivers were interviewed with either the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, Present and Lifetime Version, or the Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, Version IV. Statistical resampling methods were used to create 95% confidence intervals for the difference between the proportions of children with psychopathological conditions in the exposed and control groups.

Results: Group differences were seen in the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depressive disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and specific phobia outcome categories. The group difference in the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder category was by far the largest effect observed.

Conclusions: These results suggest that fetal alcohol exposure should be considered a possible factor in the pathogenesis of childhood psychiatric disorders. These data provide clinically relevant information about the mental health problems that children with fetal alcohol exposure are likely to face.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Causality
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / diagnosis
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors