PRE/PERINATAL ADVERSITIES AND BEHAVIOURAL OUTCOMES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD: PRELIMINARY FINDINGS FROM THE VANCOUVER LONGITUDINAL STUDY

Patrick Lussier, Stacy Tzoumakis, Jay Healey, Ray Corrado, Pratibha Reebye

Abstract


Several pre/perinatal factors (e.g., birth complications, maternal substance use, low birth weight) have been associated with early neuropsychological deficits and negative behavioural outcomes in infancy, childhood, and adolescence. The current study examines the relationship between maternal substance use during pregnancy and its impact on physical aggression and sexual behaviours in a sample of preschoolers. This study is based on a sample of children (n = 129), boys and girls, recruited as part of the KD-BEAR project, an ongoing longitudinal study conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The sample consisted of clinical referrals for an externalizing disorder and children recruited in daycares located in at-risk neighbourhoods. Semi-structured interviews were completed with the primary caregiver. A series of structural equation modelling showed that children showing higher levels of physical aggression and sexual behaviours were more likely to have been exposed to maternal substance use and pregnancy-related complications. Implications of the study are discussed in light of the scientific literature on the early prevention of aggression and violence.

Keywords


physical aggression; normative sexual behaviours; prenatal; perinatal; early childhood; maternal substance use; birth complications; maternal distress

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International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies
ISSN
(online) 1920-7298
© University of Victoria

 

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