Behavioural outcomes of four-year-old children prenatally exposed to methadone or buprenorphine: a test of three risk models
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Original versionEarly Child Development and Care 2015 10.1080/03004430.2015.1016506
It is still under debate whether the reported effects of opioid maintenance therapy (OMT) on child behaviour are a direct effect of prenatal exposure, or whether other factors are involved. This prospective cohort study investigated three models: the teratogenic risk model, the maternal risk model, and a combined risk model in a group of 35 children (M = 52.20 months, SD = 1.69) prenatally exposed to OMT. Results revealed support for the maternal risk model and the combined model, with the combined model predicting child internalising and externalising behaviour problems the best (R2 = .65, p = .008 and R2 = .74, p = .003, respectively). Findings suggest that behaviour problems in children of women in OMT may not be a direct exposure effect. This underscores the importance of taking into consideration multiple factors when studying the effects of prenatal OMT exposure on child behaviour.