About this item:

243 Views | 218 Downloads

Author Notes:

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

We acknowledge the efforts in data collection of Kristina Hubbard, Delilah Bolo, and Heather Holden in San Diego; Suzanne Houston, Ariel Starr, and Genevieve Rodriguez in Los Angeles; Sharron Paige-Whitaker in Atlanta; Alfredo Aragon, Ethan White, and Stephanie Rueda in Albuquerque; and Rosemary Bozeman and Carol Keaster in the Northern Plains.


Research Funding:

Research described in this paper was supported by NIAAA grants U01 AA014834 (Mattson); U24 AA014811 (Riley); U24 AA014818 (Barnett); and U24 AA014815 (Jones).

Additional funding was provided through grants F31 AA020142; F31 AA022261; and T32 AA013525.

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).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Substance Abuse
  • Adaptive Behavior
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
  • Attention-Deficit
  • Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • ADHD

Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Attention- Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder on Adaptive Functioning

Show all authors Show less authors


Journal Title:

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research


Volume 38, Number 5


, Pages 1439-1447

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background: Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are associated with adaptive behavior deficits. This study examined the interaction between these 2 factors on parent ratings of adaptive behavior. Methods: As part of a multisite study, primary caregivers of 317 children (8 to 16 years, M = 12.38) completed the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-Second Edition (VABS-II). Four groups of subjects were included: children with prenatal alcohol exposure with ADHD (AE+, n = 82), children with prenatal alcohol exposure without ADHD (AE-, n = 34), children with ADHD (ADHD, n = 71), and control children (CON, n = 130). VABS-II domain scores (Communication, Daily Living Skills, Socialization) were examined using separate 2 (Alcohol Exposure [AE]) × 2 (ADHD diagnosis) between-subjects analyses of covariance. Results: There were significant main effects of AE (p < 0.001) and ADHD (p < 0.001) on all VABS-II domains; alcohol-exposed children had lower scores than children without prenatal alcohol exposure and children with ADHD had lower scores than those without ADHD. There was a significant AE × ADHD interaction effect for Communication, F(1, 308) = 7.49, p = 0.007, partial η 2 = 0.024, but not Daily Living Skills or Socialization domains (ps > 0.27). Follow-up analyses in the Communication domain indicated the effects of ADHD were stronger in comparison subjects (ADHD vs. CON) than exposed subjects (AE+ vs. AE-), and the effects of alcohol exposure were stronger in subjects without ADHD (AE- vs. CON) than in subjects with ADHD (AE+ vs. ADHD). Conclusion: As found previously, both prenatal alcohol exposure and ADHD increase adaptive behavior deficits in all domains. However, these 2 factors interact to cause the greatest impairment in children with both prenatal alcohol exposure and ADHD for communication abilities. These results further demonstrate the deleterious effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and broaden our understanding of how ADHD exacerbates behavioral outcomes in this population.

Copyright information:

© 2014 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Export to EndNote