PSYC103 Introduction To Psychology

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This article is about Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure at school age II.

Attention and Behavior

Make sure you write the information in your words.



Loomans, 2012: The teratogen can affect the behavior of offspring.

According to Ware et. al. (2012), ADHD can be caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and in the parents.

ADHD can cause overactivity and impulsivity. They are also unable to focus in a stereotypical school setting (Getahun (2013)).

The students are also affected by low self-esteem, mood swings, dysthymia, anxiety and other issues that can impact their academic performance.

ADHD isn’t caused by alcohol. However, there are other causes (Frodl, Skokauskas (2012)).

ADHD was classified as mild brain dysfunction (MBD), when it was first discovered (Rubia, et al. 2014).

The reason is that ADHD is often associated with memory problems and neurological dysfunction. This is because ADHD was most commonly reported to be in children who were at high risk of developing pre- or perinatal problems and mothers of high-risk pregnancies.

Recent research has shown that ADHA is common in children who have no brain dysfunction or other symptoms. This contradicts the neurological basis of ADHD (Cubillo, et al. 2012).

ADHD’s root cause is unclear and can range from a disorganized or stressful environment to a child psychiatric disorder.

ADHD is common among families who were exposed to prenatal alcohol, or those whose children are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

But, it was difficult to connect ADHD and prenatal alcohol. This is because it is hard to conceptually differentiate the prenatal effects of alcohol from those that are related to postnatal exposures like parental alcohol abuse (Silva, et al. 2014).

The cause of ADHD in children remains unclear.

Brown in 1991 conducted a study to determine which of these factors is responsible for ADHD among children.

The article’s main hypothesis is called Effects prenatal alcohol exposure on school-age children.

ADHD can affect the behavior and attention of school students.


In order to study prenatal alcohol exposure and the generation of ADHD, the authors selected 68 mother-child pairs from a large cohort (n=228).

The children range in age from 10 months to five years.

For those with low socioeconomic status, the population chosen is black.

Based on the 1991 research by Coles and colleagues, the sample selection was made.

This group included high-risk women, including those who had reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The subject pool was comprised of 25 individuals.

Another group consisted of randomly selected women who did not consume alcohol during pregnancy, and their children were unintoxicated (“never drank”), n = 21.

Last but not least, there were women who had reported that they had consumed alcohol during their first trimester. However, this group was not statistically significant.

The study was conducted using a group of psychology graduate students. A questionnaire was distributed among mothers and children to aid in study conduct.

Participants were also kept in complete darkness about their maternal drinking habits.

Based on the Addiction Severity Indice (ASI), McClelland Luborsky and O’Brien 1983.

Child Behavior Checklists (CBL) were used to assess the internal and outer behavior of the child (table 2, and table 3).

(Source: Brown and al., 1991).

(Source: Brown and al., 1991).

Computerized vigilance tasks were used to assess the sustained attention. They were identical to Computerized Performance Tasks.

The Matching Familiar figures Test (MFFT), was used to assess the level of impulsivity.

The videotaped observational process was used to analyze the interaction styles and activity levels.

The researchers will be studying the impact of prenatal and postnatal alcohol consumption on ADHD development.

Because the dependent variable is ADHD, the independent variable is the alcohol consumption. It can be adjusted to change the amount or extent of ADHD.


The results revealed that children who were exposed to alcohol in the neonatal stage (pregnancy tenure), had problems maintaining constant attention.

According to their teachers, they also had attention and behavioral issues.

Their mother’s reports do not match those of their teachers.

Only a change in the behavior of the children caused by alcohol was observed.

Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was used to confirm the statistical significance.

The results proved that this hypothesis was supported by evidence. It showed that ADHD symptoms include difficulty maintaining attention in children who were exposed to alcohol during neonatal life.


Brown et. al. (1991) concluded there was a link between ADHD symptoms and parental alcoholism. The argument was supported by both postnatal environment effects as well as teratogenic influences.

These results showed that children who were exposed during pregnancy to alcohol had more behavioral problems in eternalizing and internalizing domains than the mothers who have never consumed alcohol or stopped drinking alcohol before the second trimester.

The internalizing effects, such as anxiety and withdrawal, were also reduced when the current alcohol intake was controlled.

The externalizing behavior is still flawed, however, such as cognitive performance and attention deficits.

This conclusion was drawn from the research, and it was based on statistical analysis. It supports the hypothesis of this study.

Research results showed that ADHD is a common condition in children of alcoholic mothers (prenatally).

Research findings support the conclusion of linking the dependent and unrelated variables.

The findings of the researcher are consistent with those made by previous researchers.

Streissguth and colleagues (1986) demonstrated that heavily affected children make more mistakes in the CPT than the unaffected ones, and they react slower.

The behavioral changes of the children were not affected by attention problems.

Borwn et. al.

(1991) ruled out the Boyd et al.

(1991) that did not find any evidence of prenatal alcohol affecting the attention of children who were from low-income nations.

The statistical analysis of the data and the use of a broad range of parameters in order to study attention deficit issues among children is the main strength of this study.

The study does have some flaws, including the fact that it only included 68 respondents. This could have resulted in bias.

Another weakness in the study is the selection of black people to be the main focus group for those who are living in poverty socio-economically. Again, this could have led to bias in the results.

An improvement in the structure and design can be made by including a large focus group, and studying the neurological basis for ADHD sufferers. This will allow us to identify the link between alcohol and ADHD. (Graham et. al. 2013).

The research results are very useful in determining the effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on ADHD behavior on psychopathology and children’s behavior (Ware et. al., 2013, 2013).


Prenatal alcohol exposure, sustained attention during the preschool years.

Neurotoxicology & teratology 13(1), 49-55.

The effects of prenatal alcohol consumption on school-age children.

Attention and behavior.

The effects of prenatal alcohol consumption on school-age children.

Cognitive and physical development.

Neurotoxicology & teratology 13(4), 357-367.

A review of frontostriatal brain abnormalities in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults and children, and new evidence regarding ADHD’s dysfunction during motivation & attention in adults with ADHD.

European journal for pediatrics, 171(2) 271-280.

The treatment effects of structural MRI in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were revealed by meta?analysis of structural MRI data from children and adults.

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 37(s1).

Caffeine intake in pregnancy and risk of problem behaviour in children aged 5-6 years old

An improved validation instrument to help substance abuse patients: the addiction severity index.

Attention, distraction, and reaction time at 7 years old and prenatal alcohol consumption.

Neurobehavioral Toxicology, & Teratology.

Alcoholism: Clinical Research, 36(8). 1431-1441.

Clinical and Experimental Research on Alcoholism, 37(3), 507-516.

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