OBJECTIVE. This study compared the prevalence of psychopathological conditions in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (N = 39) and nonexposed, typically developing peers (N = 30), matched with respect to age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
METHODS. Caregivers were interviewed with either the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, Present and Lifetime Version, or the Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, Version IV. Statistical resampling methods were used to create 95% confidence intervals for the difference between the proportions of children with psychopathological conditions in the exposed and control groups.
RESULTS. Group differences were seen in the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depressive disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and specific phobia outcome categories. The group difference in the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder category was by far the largest effect observed.
CONCLUSIONS. These results suggest that fetal alcohol exposure should be considered a possible factor in the pathogenesis of childhood psychiatric disorders. These data provide clinically relevant information about the mental health problems that children with fetal alcohol exposure are likely to face.