About this item:

110 Views | 88 Downloads

Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Sarah N. Mattson, Ph.D., 6330 Alvarado Court, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92120, Phone: 619-594-7228, Fax: 619-594-1895, sarah.mattson@sdsu.edu

The authors thank the families who graciously participate in our studies.

The authors have no financial or other conflicts of interest.


Research Funding:

Research described in this paper was supported by NIAAA grant number U01 AA014834.

Additional support was provided by U24 AA014811, U24 AA014815, K99/R00 AA022661 and F31 AA025256.

All or part of this work was done in conjunction with the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD), which is funded by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Additional information about CIFASD can be found at www.cifasd.org.


  • Science & Technology
  • Social Sciences
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurosciences
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)
  • Neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure (ND-PAE)
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Neurobehavioral profile
  • Communication

Executive Functioning Correlates With Communication Ability in Youth With Histories of Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure


Journal Title:

Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society


Volume 24, Number 10


, Pages 1026-1037

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Objectives: Caregivers of youth with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure report impaired communication, which can significantly impact quality of life. Using data collected as part of the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD), we examined whether cognitive variables predict communication ability of youth with histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. Methods: Subjects (ages 10-16 years) comprised two groups: adolescents with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (AE) and non-exposed controls (CON). Selected measures of executive function (NEPSY, Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System), working memory (CANTAB), and language were tested in the child, while parents completed communication ratings (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales - Second Edition). Separate multiple regression analyses determined which cognitive domains predicted communication ability. A final, global model of communication comprised the three cognitive models. Results: Spatial Working Memory and Inhibition significantly contributed to communication ability across groups. Twenty Questions performance related to communication ability in the CON group only while Word Generation performance related to communication ability in the AE group only. Effects remained significant in the global model, with the exception of Spatial Working Memory. Conclusions: Both groups displayed a relation between communication and Spatial Working Memory and Inhibition. Stronger communication ability related to stronger verbal fluency in the AE group and Twenty Questions performance in the CON group. These findings suggest that alcohol-exposed adolescents may rely more heavily on learned verbal storage or fluency for daily communication while non-exposed adolescents may rely more heavily on abstract thinking and verbal efficiency. Interventions aimed at aspects of executive function may be most effective at improving communication ability of these individuals. (JINS, 2018, 24, 1026-1037)

Copyright information:

© 2018 The International Neuropsychological Society.

Export to EndNote