Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moms Who Smoke During Pregnancy Might Have Criminal Kids

November 16, 2010

Betty Drapers of the world, listen up. While research has already shown a link between maternal smoking in pregnancy and attention and behavioral problems in kids and teens, a new study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health finds a longer-term correlation: between smoking during pregnancy and eventual criminality in adult children.

"The prevalence of behavior problems is quite high during adolescence," explained the study's lead author, Angela Paradis of the Harvard School of Public Health. "But there are groups who are more life-course, persisting [criminal] groups versus those who are just experimenting, asserting independence, or emulating anti-social peers. Looking at outcomes in adolescents you might be mixing two groups. So we wanted to look at only adult outcomes."

Researchers found not only a correlation between maternal smoking and the likelihood of criminal activity in grown children, they also found a dose-dependent relationship: women who smoked heavily during pregnancy (more than 20 cigarettes per day) were more likely than moderate smokers to have adult children with an arrest record.

In fact, adults whose mothers were heavy smokers during pregnancy were 30% more likely to have been arrested than those whose mothers were light or nonsmokers. Further, they were more likely to be repeat offenders.


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