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01-04-2008 | Uitgave 3/2008 Open Access

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2008

Hot and Cool Forms of Inhibitory Control and Externalizing Behavior in Children of Mothers who Smoked during Pregnancy: An Exploratory Study

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2008
Auteurs:
Stephan C. J. Huijbregts, Alison J. Warren, Leo M. J. de Sonneville, Hanna Swaab-Barneveld

Abstract

This study examined whether children exposed to prenatal smoking show deficits in “hot” and/or “cool” executive functioning (EF). Hot EF is involved in regulation of affect and motivation, whereas cool EF is involved in handling abstract, decontextualized problems. Forty 7 to 9-year-old children (15 exposed to prenatal smoking, 25 non-exposed) performed two computerized tasks. The Sustained Attention Dots (SA-Dots) Task (as a measure of “cool” inhibitory control) requires 400 non-dominant hand and 200 dominant hand responses. Inhibitory control of the prepotent response is required for dominant hand responses. The Delay Frustration Task (DeFT) (as a measure of “hot” inhibitory control) consists of 55 simple maths exercises. On a number of trials delays are introduced before the next question appears on the screen. The extent of response-button pressing during delays indicates frustration-induced inhibitory control. Prenatally exposed children showed poorer inhibitory control in the DeFT than non-exposed children. A dose–response relationship was also observed. In addition, prenatally exposed children had significantly higher (dose-dependent) conduct problem- and hyperactivity-inattention scores. There were no significant group differences in inhibitory control scores from the SA-Dots. These results indicate that children exposed to prenatal smoking are at higher risk of hot but not cool executive function deficits.

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