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date: 14 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Behavioral teratology is the study of the effects of exposure to teratogenic agents (e.g., drugs, toxins) on subsequent behavior among offspring. Several decades of study link teratogenic exposure to cognitive and behavioral effects, including psychopathology. This chapter summarizes the literature on selected teratogens and externalizing behaviors and disorders. Although other risk factors also exist, teratogenic exposures are associated with the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and substance use disorders. Compared to other behavioral and cognitive deficits, the relation of externalizing disorders to teratogen exposure has not been extensively studied. Additional research is needed to determine the contribution of dose and timing of exposure, as well as interactions among exposure and sociodemographic, environmental, and genetic factors, on externalizing behaviors.

Keywords: behavioral teratology, externalizing disorders, prenatal exposure, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, substance use disorder, alcohol

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