Abnormalities in parentally rated executive function in methamphetamine/polysubstance exposed children

Brian J. Piper, Summer F. Acevedo, Galena K. Kolchugina, Robert W. Butler, Selena M. Corbett, Elizabeth B. Honeycutt, Michael J. Craytor, Jacob Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine/polysubstance abuse in women of childbearing age is a major concern because of the potential long-term detrimental effects on the brain function of the fetus following in utero exposure. A battery of established tests, including the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, Conners' Continuous Performance Test II, Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function, the CMS Family Pictures and Dot Location tests, the Spatial Span test from the WISC-IV-Integrated, and a recently developed spatial learning and memory measure (Memory Island), was used to assess the effects of prenatal drug exposure on neurobehavioral performance. Participants were 7 to 9 year old children from similar socioeconomic backgrounds who either had (N = 31) or had not (N = 35) been exposed to methamphetamine/polysubstance during pregnancy. Compared to unexposed children, exposed children showed pronounced elevations (i.e. more problems) in parental ratings of executive function, including behavioral regulation and metacognition. Exposed children also exhibited subtle reductions in spatial performance in the Memory Island test. In contrast, IQ, Spatial Span, Family Pictures, Dot Location, and vigilance performance were unaffected by prenatal drug exposure history. Thus, children of women who reported using methamphetamine and other recreational drugs during pregnancy showed a selective profile of abnormalities in parentally rated executive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Alcohol
  • Learning
  • Neuropsychology
  • Nicotine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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