PSYC103 Introduction To Psychology


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Attention and Behavior

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Loomans (2012) show that the teratogen causes behavior problems in offspring.

Children are more likely to develop Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) if they have had alcohol in their prenatal or parental environment (Ware and al., 2012).

ADHD is characterized by impulsivity and overactivity. It also makes it difficult to pay attention in stereotypical school environments (Getahun and al., 2013).

This can lead to low self-esteem and mood swings as well as anxiety and dysthymia. These affect academic performance.

ADHD can also be caused by alcoholism. Frodl & Skokauskas (2012) found evidence of neurologic origins.

ADHD was initially classified as mild brain disorder (MBD) at the time of its discovery (Rubia. et. al., 2014.

As memory related issues are associated with neurological dysfunction, ADHD cases reported were most often associated with infants at high-risk of perinatal and prenatal problems or with mothers who have high-risk pregnancies (Cussen and al., 2012).

Recent literature indicates that ADHA may be present in children with no discernible brain dysfunction. This is contrary to what was previously reported (Cubillo 2012).

ADHD’s root cause can be confused and may vary depending on whether it is caused by a stressful or disordered environment or a child psychiatric disorder.

ADHD is more common in children of prenatal alcohol abusers or children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Although it is possible to link ADHD to prenatal drinking, there are many problems. It is difficult to distinguish between the prenatal effects and the effects of postnatal alcohol exposure (Silva et. al., 2014).

It is unclear whether ADHD among children is due to post-natal alcohol consumption or direct exposure to alcohol after birth.

Brown’s 1991 study aimed to distinguish these two underlying causes of ADHD in children.

The article entitled “Effects of prenatal drinking at school age” is the main hypothesis. II.

ADHD is a condition that affects the attention and behavior of prenatal alcohol users.


To study the effect of prenatal alcohol consumption on ADHD generation and subsequent generations, authors chose 68 mother/child pairs (n = 228) from a large sample.

The children are aged from 10 months through 5 years.

The selected population is made up of black people who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

The study by Coles and colleagues, 1991, was used to select the sample.

The same group of subjects belonged to high-risk populations, including women who reported having consumed alcohol in all trimesters (n = 25), even though they had received appropriate educational intervention at the time that the university teaching hospital was established (1990-1983).

Another group was randomly selected women, who were not able to consume alcohol during pregnancy. Their children were also free from alcohol intoxication (n = 21).

The last and final group comprised women who, despite having reported drinking alcohol in the first trimester of their pregnancy (statistically important), have stopped drinking throughout the remainder of their tenure of pregnancy (“stopped smoking”, n=22).

The study was conducted through a group psychology masters students. Study conduction was made with the help disseminating questionnaires to the mothers and their children.

Furthermore, participants were unaware of their mother’s drinking status.

The Addiction Severity Score (ASI), McClelland Luborsky O’Brien (1983), was the basis of the questionnaire.

Child Behavior Checklists (CBL), analyzed the child’s inner and outer behavior (table 2, and table 3).

(Source: Brown, et al. 1991).

(Source: Brown, et al. 1991).

Computerized Vigilance Tasks (CPTs), which were identical to the Computerized Performance Tasks, were used for analyzing sustained attention.

To determine the extent of impulsivity, Matching Family Figures Test (MFFT), was used.

To study interactional styles as well as activity levels, a videotaped observational procedure has been used.

Researchers will study the effects of prenatal and subsequent alcohol consumption on ADHD development.

As the dependent variable in ADHD development, it is possible to vary the alcohol consumption.


The results showed that children who have been exposed to alcohol all their lives (pregnancy tenure) had problems in maintaining their constant attention.

Teachers reported frequent attention-related and behavioral problems.

However, their mother’s reports do not agree with the teachers.

Controlling the current alcohol consumption of the children resulted in no changes or modulation of their external behavior. It had no effect whatsoever on their internal behavior.

Multivariate analysis by variance (MANOVA), was used to validate statistical significance.

The results confirmed the hypothesis. It was shown that ADHD children are more likely to have problems with attention if they are exposed to alcohol while in neonatal.


Brown and his colleagues (1991), concluded that ADHD symptoms were linked to parental alcoholism. Their argument was supported both in postnatal environmental effects as well teratogenic ones.

It was also found that children who were exposed throughout pregnancy to alcohol have significantly more behavior problems in the eternalizing, internalizing domains compared to those who had never consumed alcohol in their lives or who stopped drinking alcohol within the second trimester.

It was also found that the internalizing effects like anxiety withdrawal and depression were lessened when the effects from the alcohol drinking were stopped.

The internalizing behavior’s defects, like attention deficits and cognitive performance, remain.

The study hypothesis was supported by the conclusion drawn from the research and the statistical analysis.

Research results revealed that ADHD affects the prenatal children of an alcoholic mother.

These research results support the conclusion reached by linking the dependent variables and independent variables.

The conclusions of the researcher agree with the findings from previous studies.

Streissguth, et al. (1986), found that children who are severely affected make more mistakes on the CPT and respond more slowly to these errors than other people.

There were no behavioral changes, aside from attention issues.


The Boyd et al. (1991 findings) were overruled.

(1991), which found no evidence that prenatal alcohol had affected the attention of the children of low-income countries.

The main strength of the study lies in the statistical analysis and use of many parameters to study attention deficit disorders among children.

There are flaws in the study. For example, the study only had 68 participants. This might have created biasness.

Also, bias was generated by the study’s selection of blacks as the main focus group.

Study design and structure can be improved by including a large group of children and studying the neurological basis in ADHD cases. This is to determine if alcohol exposure has a direct effect on ADHD development (Graham, et al. 2013).

The research results can be very helpful in determining whether alcohol exposure during pregnancy affects ADHD’s psychopathology or behavior. (Ware, et al. 2013, 2013).

ReferencesBoyd, T. A., Ernhart, C. B., Greene, T. H., Sokol, R. J., & Martier, S. (1991).

Prenatal alcohol consumption and sustained attention during preschool years.

Neurotoxicology. Teratology. 13(1). 49-55.Brown, R. T., Coles, C. D., Smith, I. E., Platzman, K. A., Silverstein, J., Erickson, S., & Falek, A. (1991).

Prenatal alcohol exposure during school age. II.

Attention and behavior. Neurotoxicology and teratology, 13(4), 369-376. doi:10.3390/brainsci6010005Coles, C. D., Brown, R. T., Smith, I. E., Platzman, K. A., Erickson, S., & Falek, A. (1991).

Prenatal alcohol exposure during school age. I.

Physical and cognitive development.

Neurotoxicology. 13(4): 357-367.Cubillo, A., Halari, R., Smith, A., Taylor, E., & Rubia, K. (2012).

Review of fronto-striatal, fronto-cortical brain abnormalities and new evidence regarding ADHD in motivation and focus in children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). Cortex, 48(2), 194-215., A., Sciberras, E., Ukoumunne, O. C., & Efron, D. (2012). Relationship between symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and family functioning: a community-based study.

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Treatment effects are evident in meta-analysis of structural MRI tests on attention deficit hyperactivity and ADHD children and adults. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 125(2), 114-126. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01786.xGetahun, D., Jacobsen, S. J., Fassett, M. J., Chen, W., Demissie, K., & Rhoads, G. G. (2013). Recent trends in childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. JAMA pediatrics, 167(3), 282-288. doi:10.1001/2013.jamapediatrics.401Graham, D. M., Crocker, N., Deweese, B. N., Roesch, S. C., Coles, C. D., Kable, J. A., … & Riley, E. P. (2013). Prenatal alcohol exposure, attention?deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and sluggish cognitive tempo.

Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 37 (s1). DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01886.xLoomans, E. M., Hofland, L., Van der Stelt, O., Van der Wal, M. F., Koot, H. M., Van den Bergh, B. R., & Vrijkotte, T. G. (2012).

The risk of problem behavior in 5- to 6-year old children whose mothers consume caffeine during pregnancy. Pediatrics, 130(2), e305-e313.McClelland, A. T., Luborsky, L., O’Brien, C. P. (1983).

The addiction severity index (an improved validation instrument) is for patients suffering from substance abuse. J. Nerv. Ment. Dis., 168, 26-33.Rubia, K., Alegria, A. A., Cubillo, A. I., Smith, A. B., Brammer, M. J., & Radua, J. (2014). Effects of stimulants on brain function in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Biological Psychiatry, 76(8), 616-628., D., Colvin, L., Hagemann, E., & Bower, C. (2014). Environmental risk factors by gender associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics, 133(1), e14-e22.Streissguth, A. P., Barr, H. M., Sampson, P. D., & Parrish-Johnson, J. C. (1986).

Attention, distraction, reaction time and alcohol exposure at age 7 and before.

Neurobehavioral Toxicology.Ware, A. L., Crocker, N., O’brien, J. W., Deweese, B. N., Roesch, S. C., Coles, C. D., … & Jones, K. L. (2012). Executive function predicts adaptive behavior in children with histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and attention?deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 36(8), 1431-1441. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01718.xWare, A. L., O’brien, J. W., Crocker, N., Deweese, B. N., Roesch, S. C., Coles, C. D., … & Jones, K. L. (2013). The Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Attention?Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder on Psychopathology and Behavior.

Clinical and Experimental Research 37(3), 507-516. Alcoholism. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01953.xWillcutt, E. G. (2012). The prevalence of DSM-IV attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a meta-analytic review. Neurotherapeutics, 9(3), 490-499. DOI:

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