Prenatal drug exposure: neurodevelopmental outcome and parenting environment

J Pediatr Psychol. 1993 Oct;18(5):605-20. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/18.5.605.


Examined neurodevelopmental patterns and caregiving environment among 20 infants prenatally exposed to cocaine and 20 drug-free infants. The Brazelton Scale was administered 4 times. Drug-exposed infants had less optimal neurodevelopment than comparison infants at birth, but by 6 weeks only differences in autonomic stability were apparent. Neurodevelopmental performance was related positively to the child-centered quality of the environment. Though support buffered stress in both groups, the effect was more robust among drug-free mothers. Findings support the need to consider neurodevelopmental recovery and the caregiving environment in evaluations of developmental outcome among drug-exposed infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Developmental Disabilities / chemically induced*
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Social Environment*


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Psychotropic Drugs