To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Early Fetal Binge Alcohol Exposure Predicts High Behavioral Symptom Scores in 5.5-Year-Old Children


Fetal binge alcohol exposure has been associated with neurobehavioral and cognitive symptoms. This study explored whether binge drinking mainly before recognition of pregnancy predicted high symptom scores on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in 5.5-year-old children.
In a population-based, longitudinal study representative of pregnant women in Oslo, Norway, questionnaires were answered at 17 and 30 weeks of pregnancy, 6 months after term, and at child age 5.5 years (n = 1,116, constituting 66% of the original cohort). Logistic regression analyses identified factors predicting high SDQ scores, and multiple regression analyses identified direct effects on the SDQ Total.
Binge exposure (≥5 standard units per occasion [SUpo]) during pregnancy week 0 to 6, that is, 0 to 4 weeks after conception, predicted scores in the Abnormal and Borderline range on the SDQ in 5.5-year-olds, after adjusting for other confounding variables. Very early binge exposure less often than once a week predicted high symptom scores on the SDQ Total (p = 0.05) and Hyperactivity/Inattention (significant), while exposure at least once a week demonstrated a 3- to 5-fold significant increase in high symptom scores on Total, Emotional, and Conduct problems. Reporting ≥8 SUpo had stronger predictive power than reporting 5 to 7 SUpo. The results were not explained by participants reporting major lifetime depression. Other predictive factors, although weaker, were maternal symptoms of depression and anxiety during the child's infancy. High education (mother and father), high income (maternal partner), higher child birth weight, and child female sex reduced the likelihood of high SDQ symptom scores. Path analysis demonstrated early binge exposure to have a direct effect on the SDQ Total score.
Binge drinking up to 4 weeks after conception had a strong and direct predictive effect on SDQ symptom scores in 5.5-year-olds. These results strongly support the advice to avoid binge drinking when planning pregnancy


Read Full Article    (PDF)