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Smoking during pregnancy fosters aggression in children
Date:1/6/2009

t, bite, kick, fight and bully others.

Other risks for aggressive behaviour

Although physical aggression is most common in preschool children, the researchers identified other prenatal factors associated with aggressive behaviour in children: mothers who are younger than 21, who smoke and who coerce their children to behave. The researchers also found that children from families who earned less than $40,000 per year were at an increased risk for aggressive behaviour.

In this category, heavy smokers had a 40 percent chance of having highly aggressive children, compared with 25 percent for other mothers who were moderate or non-smokers. When income was greater than $40,000 annually, the gap between heavy smokers and others fell to 8 percent.

The effect of smoking on aggression in offspring remained significant even when other factors were removed such as divorce, depression, maternal education and the mother's age during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy is one factor that could be curbed to decrease risks of aggression and violent behaviour.

The research team recommends that low-income women, who are heavy smokers and who have a history of anti-social behaviour become a screening criterion for prenatal testing to determine what families need extra support to prevent development of aggressive behaviour.


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Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
sylvain-jacques.desjardins@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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