Massey, S. H., Reiss, D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Leve, L. D., Shaw, D. S., Ganiban, J. M. (2015). Maternal personality traits associated with patterns of prenatal smoking and exposure: Implications for etiologic and prevention research. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 53, 48–54.
Abstract: Background: The characteristics of children exposed to smoking during pregnancy have received substantial attention, yet less is known about the characteristics of women who engage in different smoking behaviors during pregnancy. We examined how maternal personality relates to prenatal smoking patterns. Methods: Participants were 826 mothers in the Early Growth and Development Study who completed the Temperament and Character Inventory and interview-based lifetime and trimester-by-trimester smoking assessments at around 4 months postpartum. Never smokers (n = 199), pregnancy quitters (n = 277), pregnancy light smokers (n = 184), and pregnancy heavy smokers (n = 166) were compared on personality dimensions, nicotine dependence, family history of substance use disorders, and prenatal depressive symptoms. Linear regression analysis was used to examine maternal personality and average cigarettes/day in pregnancy while accounting for smoking-related covariates.
Results: Pregnancy quitters had similar self-directedness as never-smokers and fewer depressive symptoms during pregnancy than did pregnancy smokers and never-smokers. Factors independently associated with differential levels of prenatal smoking exposure were maternal self-directedness, B(SE) = −.092 (.046), β = −.086, t = −1.983, p = .048, nicotine dependence, B(SE) = 2.091 (.442), β = .180, t = 4.736, p < .001, and family history of substance use disorders, B(SE) = 1.485 (.453), β = .125, t = 3.282, p = .001.
Conclusions: Differential levels of prenatal smoking may reflect differences in maternal self-directedness. Genetically influenced characteristics related to addiction are additional factors to consider in pathways to offspring outcomes.