Effortful control mediates associations of fetal growth with hyperactivity and behavioural problems in 7- to 9-year-old children
Schlotz, Wolff, Jones, Alexander, Godfrey, Keith M. and Phillips, David I.W. (2008) Effortful control mediates associations of fetal growth with hyperactivity and behavioural problems in 7- to 9-year-old children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, (11), 1228-1236. (doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01946.x).
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Background: Inverse associations of fetal growth with behavioural problems in childhood have been repeatedly reported, suggesting long-term effects of the prenatal developmental environment on behaviour later in life. However, no study so far has examined effects on temperament and potential developmental pathways. Temperamental traits may be particularly susceptible to neurodevelopmental alterations, and they are linked to behavioural problems. Therefore, we tested for associations of fetal growth with behavioural problems in children and tested if temperament mediated such effects. Methods: 139 mother-child pairs were recruited in early pregnancy. Weight, head circumference and gestational age were measured at birth, and the mother reported on their child’s behavioural problems and temperament at age 7 to 9 years. Results: Birth weight and head circumference at birth adjusted for gestational age (i.e. fetal growth) were inversely associated with hyperactivity and total behavioural problems, and positively associated with the temperamental trait Effortful Control. Path analyses showed that Effortful Control mediated the effects of fetal growth on hyperactivity and total behavioural problems. Conclusions: Our results suggest that an adverse fetal environment is associated with behavioural problems in childhood, in particular in those children that show a low capacity for attentional and behavioural regulation. An adverse fetal environment might induce vulnerability for behavioural problems, or it might induce changes in temperament and behavioural problems independently, representing a common cause. Pathways are likely to be based on long lasting neurodevelopmental alterations due to prenatal adversity.
|Keywords:||fetal growth, temperament, effortful control, behavioural problems, hyperactivity|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
|Divisions:||University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
|Date Deposited:||21 Aug 2008|
|Last Modified:||27 Mar 2014 18:38|
|RDF:||RDF+N-Triples, RDF+N3, RDF+XML, Browse.|
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Associations of fetal growth with hyperactivity, behavioural problems and temperament in 7-to-9-year-old children. (deposited 31 Jul 2008)
- Effortful control mediates associations of fetal growth with hyperactivity and behavioural problems in 7- to 9-year-old children. (deposited 21 Aug 2008) [Currently Displayed]
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