Externalizing behavior and substance use related problems at 15years in prenatally cocaine exposed adolescents

Meeyoung O. Min, Sonia Minnes, Adelaide Lang, Paul Weishampel, Elizabeth J. Short, Susan Yoon, Lynn T. Singer

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45 Scopus citations


The effect of prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) on externalizing behavior and substance use related problems at 15 years of age was examined. Participants consisted of 358 adolescents (183 PCE, 175 non-cocaine exposed (NCE)), primarily African-American and of low socioeconomic status, prospectively enrolled in a longitudinal study from birth. Regression analyses indicated that the amount of PCE was associated with higher externalizing behavioral problems (β= 15, p= 02). Adolescents with PCE were also 2.8 times (95% CI=1.38-5.56) more likely to have substance use related problems than their NCE counterparts. No differences between PCE adolescents in non-kinship adoptive/foster care (n=44) and PCE adolescents in maternal/relative care (n=139) were found in externalizing behavior or in the likelihood of substance use related problems. Findings demonstrate teratologic effects of PCE persisting into adolescence. PCE is a reliable marker for the potential development of problem behaviors in adolescence, including substance use related problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks are extended to the families who have participated in this study for 15 years and our research staff including Laurie Ellison, Diana Fox, Miaoping Wu, and Terri Lotz-Ganley. This research was supported by a National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant R01-07957 . The study sponsor did not have a role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of this data or in writing of this report or the decision to submit this paper for publication. Portions of this paper were presented at the 36th Annual Conference of Neurobehavioral Teratology Society (NBTS), Baltimore, MD, in June 2012.


  • Externalizing behavior
  • Parental monitoring
  • Prenatal cocaine exposure
  • Substance use
  • Violence exposure


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