Maternal smoking and offspring inattention and hyperactivity: results from a cross-national European survey
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In utero exposure to tobacco smoke is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes; the association with later childhood mental health outcomes remains controversial. We used a strategy involving comparison of maternal and paternal smoking reports in a sample pooling data from six diverse European countries. Data were drawn from mother (N = 4,517) and teacher (N = 4,611) reported attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in school children aged 6–11 in Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Germany, and the Netherlands, surveyed in 2010. Mothers report on self and husband’s smoking patterns during the pregnancy period. Logistic regression used with control covariates including demographics, maternal distress, live births, region, and post-pregnancy smoking. In unadjusted models, maternal prenatal smoking was associated with probable ADHD based on mother [Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.82, 95 % Confidence Interval (CI) 1.45–2.29], teacher (OR = 1.69, 95 % CI 1.33–2.14) and mother plus teacher (OR = 1.49, 95 % CI 1.03–2.17) report. Paternal prenatal smoking was similarly associated with probable ADHD in unadjusted models. When controlled for relevant confounders, maternal prenatal smoking remained a risk factor for offspring probable ADHD based on mother report (OR = 1.44, 95 % CI 1.06–1.96), whereas the effect of paternal prenatal smoking diminished (e.g., mother report: OR = 1.17, 95 % CI 0.92–1.49). Drawing on data from a diverse set of countries across Europe, we document that the association between maternal smoking and offspring ADHD is stronger than that of paternal smoking during the pregnancy period and offspring ADHD. To the extent that confounding is shared between parents, these results reflect a potential intrauterine influence of smoking on ADHD in children.
KeywordsADHD Hyperactivity Smoking Prenatal smoking In utero tobacco
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Strengths and difficulties questionnaire
This project had been financed by the European Union, grant number 2006336.
Conflict of interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
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