The relation between prenatal marijuana exposure (PME) and school achievement was evaluated in a sample of 524 14-year-olds. Women were recruited during pregnancy and assessed, along with their offspring, at multiple phases from infancy to early adulthood. The sample represents a low-income population. Half of the adolescents are male and 55% are African American. School achievement was assessed with the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) Screener (Psychological Corporation, 1992). A significant negative relation was found between PME and 14-year WIAT composite and reading scores. The deficit in school achievement was mediated by the effects of PME on intelligence test performance at age 6, attention problems and depression symptoms at age 10, and early initiation of marijuana use. These findings suggest that the effects of PME on adolescent achievement are mediated by the earlier negative effects of PME on child characteristics. The negative impact of these characteristics on adolescent achievement may presage later problems in early adulthood.
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