By On November 9th, 2007

Prenatal alcohol use connected to aggressive behavior

It is common knowledge that abuse of alcoholic beverages can cause aggressive behaviors in those that consume them. However, a recent study published by Assistant Professor Brian D’Onofrio and colleagues at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in Indiana has found a connection between prenatal alcohol consumption and aggressive behavior in adolescents. According to the study, adolescents whose mothers drank during pregnancy were found to be more apt to bully, break things, and otherwise display aggressive behavior.

Information from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth was used to assess the prevalence of aggressive behaviors in adolescents whose mothers drank during pregnancy and adolescents whose mothers did not. The sample was taken from the date rang of 1986 to 2004 and observed adolescents ages 14 to 21 years of age. The following is an excerpt of an article from Indiana Daily Student News that discusses the specifics of the study:

D’Onofrio said the group studied the findings in children exposed to alcohol, looking for behavioral conduct problems in children. He then compared the results to children not exposed to alcohol during gestation.

“We were able to control the mothers’ drinking after pregnancy, and were able to rule out other factors,” D’Onofrio said.

D’Onofrio said the study’s biggest strength was its ability to draw comparisons between siblings who were exposed to alcohol.

“The study strongly suggests that alcohol exposure actually causes children to have more conduct problems,” D’Onofrio said.

D’Onofrio added that in comparing siblings that were indirectly exposed, second-born children are much less likely to have conduct problems.

D’Onofrio said an interesting finding of the study was that, although drinking alcohol is associated with attention and impulsivity problems, other risk factors during pregnancy contribute to these problems more than alcohol consumption itself does.

Both Van Hulle and D’Onofrio said the purpose of the study is to build support for public health messages urging pregnant women not to drink.

Click here to read the entire article from Indiana Daily Student News

­Action Point:

It is not unreasonable to think that drinking alcohol in moderation is both safe and enjoyable. However, if you have made a plan to, or even considered, drinking alcohol during pregnancy this is possibly an indication that you could benefit from a personal assessment from a licensed professional. Have you had any of the following thoughts?

““So and so” drank on occasion during her pregnancy and her child is just fine.”

“Of course I wouldn’t drink hard liquor during pregnancy but certainly a glass of wine now and then isn’t going to hurt.”

“It’s only one party.”

Take a personal inventory. Do any of the above excuses sound familiar? If so, seek out a professional that can advise you about some helpful options.

Click here for information on Brookhaven’s chemical dependency programs

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