Neurobehavior in preterm neonates exposed to cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco

Kimberly Andrews Espy, Marilyn L. Riese, David J. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Neonatal neurobehavioral development was investigated in a sample of 20 hospitalized, prenatally cocaine-exposed preterm infants and 20 matched non-exposed controls. Prenatal cocaine exposure was related to reductions in attention performance that remained apparent at 36 weeks conceptional age. There was no impact of prenatal cocaine exposure on the rate of change in attention proficiency. In utero alcohol exposure was associated with increased rates of age-related change in motor skill. Alcohol-related performance deficits were transient: alcohol-exposed infants reached an equivalent level of motor performance exhibited by the non-exposed infants by 36 weeks conceptional age. These findings highlight the importance of considering potential effects of prenatal cocaine exposure in the context of other substance exposure and demonstrate the utility of a developmental perspective to address the impact of prenatal substance exposure on outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-309
Number of pages13
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • Growth curve analysis
  • Neonatal
  • Prematurity neurobehavioral development
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Prenatal cocaine exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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