The Effect of Maternal Stress during Pregnancy on IQ and ADHD Symptomatology.

TitleThe Effect of Maternal Stress during Pregnancy on IQ and ADHD Symptomatology.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGrizenko N, Fortier M-È, Gaudreau-Simard M, Jolicoeur C, Joober R
JournalJ Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry
Date Published2015 Fall

OBJECTIVE: Maternal stress during pregnancy (MSDP) has been linked to a decrease in Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in the general population. The purpose of this study is to first examine the association between MSDP and IQ in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and second, to confirm, in a large sample, the link between MSDP and ADHD behavioral symptomatology.METHODS: Four hundred ten children diagnosed with ADHD, ages six to 12, were consecutively recruited from the ADHD clinic and day hospital at the Douglas Institute from 1999 to 2013. IQ was assessed using the WISC III and IV. Symptom severity was evaluated using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Connor's Global Index for Parents (CGI-P) and Teachers (CGI-T).RESULTS: No significant effect of MSDP on full scale IQ was observed, but MSDP had a significant effect on CBCL and CGI scores. Elevated MSDP was significantly associated with increased CBCL internalizing scores (β=4.2, p<.01), CBCL externalizing scores (β=1.9, p=.04), CGI-P restless-impulsive scores (β=2.6, p=.01), CGI-P emotional lability scores (β=3.1, p=.02), and CGI-T restless-impulsive (β=2.2, p=.05) and emotional lability (β=3.4, p=.04) scores. MSDP increased the variance explained of ADHD symptomatology even after controlling for various factors (i.e. familial income, parental education, smoking and drinking during pregnancy, gender and age).CONCLUSION: The study demonstrates that in children with ADHD, MSDP does not have an impact on IQ but rather on ADHD symptomatology, highlighting the importance of potentially offering psychological and social support to mothers who experience stress during pregnancy.

Alternate JournalJ Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry
PubMed ID26379720
PubMed Central IDPMC4558979