Cognitive functioning in 8- to 18-month-old drug-exposed infants.

S. M. Alessandri, M. Bendersky, M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This study examined the cognitive functioning in 236 infants at 8 and 18 months of age. Thirty-seven infants were heavily exposed to cocaine in-utero, 30 were lightly exposed, and 169 were not exposed to cocaine. Cognitive functioning was evaluated with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (2nd ed.; N. Bayley, 1993) at both ages. Infant information processing was also assessed with an infant-controlled habituation procedure. Results indicated that (a) infants of cocaine-abusing women had higher neonatal medical and environmental risk scores; (b) at 8 months, exposure groups did not differ in Psychomotor Development Index, Mental Development Index (MDI) scores, or recovery to a novel stimulus; and (c) infants heavily exposed to cocaine or high environmental risk had a decrease in MDI scores from 8 to 18 months. These results were obtained when neonatal medical and environmental risk, as well as polydrug exposure, were controlled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-573
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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