Does a childhood history of externalizing problems predict smoking during pregnancy?

Molly Middlecamp Kodl*, Lauren S. Wakschlag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


While the demographic characteristics of women who smoke during pregnancy are well established, less is known about psychiatric characteristics that may differentiate among persistent smokers, spontaneous quitters, and nonsmokers. The purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that a history of externalizing problems is related to persistent smoking during pregnancy. Participants included 93 pregnant women (mean age=28 years; 89% non-Hispanic White; 46% persistent smokers; and 16% spontaneous quitters). Externalizing problems, as evidenced by conduct disorder (CD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), were assessed using diagnostic interviews. History of CD and ADHD varied by smoking status, with persistent smokers most likely to have a history of both disorders and exhibiting the highest levels of symptomatology. In multivariate analyses, a history of CD, but not ADHD symptoms, distinguished women who persisted in smoking during pregnancy from spontaneous quitters. Results suggest that a childhood history of conduct problems is a risk factor for maternal smoking during pregnancy and that psychiatric history is important to consider in developing more targeted cessation interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-279
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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