Maternal cocaine use and infant behavior

Rina Das Eiden, Audra Lewis, Stacy Croff, Elizabeth Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study examined the impact of maternal cocaine use and associated risk factors such as polysubstance use, maternal functioning, and caregiving on affect regulation during infancy. Participants were 45 mother-infant dyads (19 cocaine exposed and 26 control infants) recruited at birth. Observations and maternal reports of infant behavior were obtained at 2 and 7 months of age, along with measures of pre- and postnatal substance use, maternal functioning, and caregiving stability. Maternal cocaine use accounted for significant variance in infant positive affect at 2 months. Other substance use and gestational age predicted infant distress to novelty and arousal during developmental assessments. At 7 months, the impact of prenatal cocaine exposure on infant affect regulation was mediated by postnatal alcohol use and caregiving stability. These findings, if replicated, suggest that 1 pathway to later problem behavior reported among substance-exposed children may be through early regulatory problems and the quality of postnatal caregiving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-96
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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