Effects of fetal tobacco exposure on focused attention in infancy

Shannon Shisler, Rina D. Eiden, Danielle S. Molnar, Pamela Schuetze, Claire D. Coles, Marilyn Huestis, Craig R. Colder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study examined the association between fetal tobacco exposure (FTE) and focused attention at 9 months of child age, and the role of child sex and infant behavioral reactivity as potential moderators of this association. Data were obtained from 203 mothers and their infants (105 fetally exposed and 98 non-exposed) on infant focused attention and behavioral reactivity to a frustration task. FTE was ascertained via nicotine metabolites in infant meconium, reflecting primarily third trimester fetal exposure. Results demonstrated a main effect of FTE on focused attention, such that exposed infants exhibited lower levels of focused attention than non-exposed infants. Behavioral reactivity, but not infant sex, moderated the relationship between FTE and focused attention, such that exposed infants who were highly reactive to frustration had the lowest levels of focused attention. Results suggest that smoking interventions, even in the third trimester, may have a positive impact on attentional outcomes for infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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