MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring personality in childhood and adulthood

, ,

Journal of Personality

Published online on


Objective Maternal smoking during pregnancy (MSDP) has been associated with offspring internalizing and externalizing disorders. The purpose of this research is to examine whether MSDP is also associated with variations in normal personality traits in childhood and adulthood. Method This study uses four independent samples (total N = 16,323) to examine whether there are mean‐level differences in offspring personality traits by MSDP, controlling for relevant sociodemographic factors. Two samples are of children (Ns = 3,782 and 3,841) and two samples are of adults (Ns = 1,786 and 6,914). Results A meta‐analysis across the four samples indicated that offspring of mothers who did smoke during pregnancy scored higher in Neuroticism (p = .000) and Extraversion (p = .003) and lower in Conscientiousness (p = .002) than offspring of mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy. The association between MSDP and Neuroticism and Conscientiousness held across both childhood and adulthood and when propensity score matching was used, whereas the association with Extraversion was only apparent in adulthood and did not hold with propensity scores. Conclusions These results suggest that MSDP is associated with individual differences in psychological traits in childhood and adulthood and may be one prenatal factor that contributes to trait Neuroticism and Conscientiousness.