Nav: Home

Longitudinal study investigates cocaine's impact on adolescent development

August 19, 2009

Teen years are filled with experimenting. Sometimes that means trying some risky behaviors.

Nearly 400 teens, half of which were prenatally exposed to cocaine, will be studied in their adolescent years. Researchers will look at the youths' choices when it comes to using drugs, having sex or engaging in delinquent behaviors, and see if there is an association with prenatal cocaine exposure. The study will also closely follow the cognitive development and mental health behavior of the young people.

Sonia Minnes, an assistant professor from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and now the lead researcher in phase four of a long-term study of cocaine exposed children, has received a five-year, nearly $5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

"This latest funding will help us to continue to tell the story of what happens in the development of prenatally cocaine-exposed children," says Minnes.

With the inception of this new study, "Prenatal Cocaine Exposure in Adolescence," Minnes and her co-investigators will follow the children through age 18.

The study began with 415 infant-mother (or caretaker) pairs recruited at the infant's birth. Over the years, the children's development has been followed, as well as the mental health and substance abuse by the mother or caregiver. In three previous phases of NIDA funding, the researchers found that prenatal cocaine exposure negatively affects attention, language development, behavior and the ability to process visual information.

"Most people know that mothers should not use drugs during pregnancy," says Minnes. "This study over time will tell us what risks are associated with a specific prenatal drug exposure and how environmental influences shape developmental outcomes."

She adds that they have found important environmental factors such as elevated blood lead, maternal mental health and vocabulary level and the type of caregiver placement, are important to consider in evaluating prenatal cocaine exposure's effect on developmental outcome. "The study will help us understand what interventions are needed at different developmental stages in their lives."

The study has been underway since 1994, when Lynn Singer, deputy provost and professor of pediatrics in the school of medicine, questioned what happens to prenatally cocaine-exposed children as they grow older. Minnes, who worked as the project coordinator since its beginning, became the study's principal investigator in 2007.

Her recent appointment to the Mandel School of Applied Social Science, where she earned her doctorate in social work, comes at a pivotal point in the study's progress as the focus shifts towards social behavior issues traditionally studied in the realm of social work, says Minnes. She will draw from the expertise of colleagues at MSASS who can provide additional insight regarding the effects of neighborhood and family violence, parental substance use, and placement issues on the development of prenatally cocaine-exposed adolescents.

Findings from the study will provide important information to early intervention specialists and child policy experts who can then develop targeted therapeutic interventions.
-end-
Case Western Reserve University is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case Western Reserve is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.

Case Western Reserve University

Related Mental Health Articles:

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.
Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.
Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.
Heat takes its toll on mental health
Hot days increase the probability that an average adult in the US will report bad mental health, according to a study published March 25, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Mengyao Li of the University of Georgia, and colleagues.
Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.
The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Skills training opens 'DOORS' to digital mental health for patients with serious mental illness
Digital technologies, especially smartphone apps, have great promise for increasing access to care for patients with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia.
The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: Mental health problems persist in adolescents five years after bariatric surgery despite substantial weight loss
Five years after weight-loss surgery, despite small improvements in self-esteem and moderate improvements in binge eating, adolescents did not see improvements in their overall mental health, compared to peers who received conventional obesity treatment, according to a study in Sweden with 161 participants aged 13-18 years published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
More Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Our Relationship With Water
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water – water is in crisis and so are we. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around restoring our relationship with water. Guests on the show include legal scholar Kelsey Leonard, artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, and community organizer Colette Pichon Battle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Uncounted
First things first: our very own Latif Nasser has an exciting new show on Netflix. He talks to Jad about the hidden forces of the world that connect us all. Then, with an eye on the upcoming election, we take a look back: at two pieces from More Perfect Season 3 about Constitutional amendments that determine who gets to vote. Former Radiolab producer Julia Longoria takes us to Washington, D.C. The capital is at the heart of our democracy, but it's not a state, and it wasn't until the 23rd Amendment that its people got the right to vote for president. But that still left DC without full representation in Congress; D.C. sends a "non-voting delegate" to the House. Julia profiles that delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and her unique approach to fighting for power in a virtually powerless role. Second, Radiolab producer Sarah Qari looks at a current fight to lower the US voting age to 16 that harkens back to the fight for the 26th Amendment in the 1960s. Eighteen-year-olds at the time argued that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the War, they were old enough to have a voice in our democracy. But what about today, when even younger Americans are finding themselves at the center of national political debates? Does it mean we should lower the voting age even further? This episode was reported and produced by Julia Longoria and Sarah Qari. Check out Latif Nasser's new Netflix show Connected here. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.