Maternal and Paternal Smoking During Pregnancy and Risk of ADHD Symptoms in Offspring: Testing for Intrauterine Effects

Kate Langley*, Jon Heron, George Davey Smith, Anita Thapar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring. It is assumed by many that this association is causal. Others suggest that observed associations are due to unmeasured genetic factors or other confounding factors. The authors compared risks of maternal smoking during pregnancy with those of paternal smoking during pregnancy. With a causal intrauterine effect, no independent association should be observed between paternal smoking and offspring ADHD. If the association is due to confounding factors, risks of offspring ADHD should be of similar magnitudes regardless of which parent smokes. This hypothesis was tested in 8,324 children from a well-characterized United Kingdom prospective cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (data from 19912000). Associations between offspring ADHD and maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy were compared using regression analyses. Offspring ADHD symptoms were associated with exposure to both maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy (mothers: 0.25, 95 confidence interval: 0.18, 0.32; fathers: 0.21, 95 confidence interval: 0.15, 0.27). When paternal smoking was examined in the absence of maternal smoking, associations remained and did not appear to be due to passive smoking exposure in utero. These findings suggest that associations between maternal smoking during pregnancy and child ADHD may be due to genetic or household-level confounding rather than to causal intrauterine effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume176
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
  • causality
  • confounding factors (epidemiology)
  • maternal exposure
  • paternal exposure
  • pregnancy
  • prenatal exposure delayed effects
  • smoking
  • DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
  • DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
  • PRENATAL EXPOSURE
  • HEALTH OUTCOMES
  • MENTAL-HEALTH
  • ALCOHOL-USE
  • CHILDREN
  • TWIN
  • BEHAVIOR
  • CONSEQUENCES

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