In the Detroit Longitudinal Study, SCH727965 molecular weight which focused on infants born to women who drank at moderate-to-heavy levels during pregnancy, prenatal exposure was inversely correlated with performance on both spontaneous and elicited play (S. W. Jacobson et al., 1993). After controlling for potential confounding socioenvironmental influences, however, only the relation with elicited play remained significant, suggesting that fetal alcohol exposure directly affects the infant’s capacity to acquire increasingly complex symbolic manipulations by modeling adult behavior, the component of play considered to represent the infant’s competence
level (Belsky et al., 1984). Moreover, elicited play was not related to prenatal exposure to smoking, cocaine, or marijuana. In addition, elicited play at 1 year was moderately predictive of verbal IQ at 7.5 years (Jacobson, Chiodo, & Jacobson, 1996), suggesting that it may constitute a meaningful precursor of verbal development. Recent studies have documented a very high prevalence of heavy alcohol use during pregnancy Ku-0059436 clinical trial (Croxford & Viljoen, 1999; Jacobson et al., 2008) in the Cape-Colored (mixed ancestry) population in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, where the incidence of FAS is 18–141 times greater than in the United States and among the highest in the world (May et al.,
2000). This population, composed mainly of descendants of white European, Malaysian, Khoi-San, and black African ancestors, has historically comprised Selleckchem Vorinostat the large majority of workers in the wine-producing
and fruit-growing region of the Western Cape. The high prevalence of heavy drinking is attributed to the traditional dop system, in which farm laborers were paid, in part, with wine. Although the dop system has been outlawed, heavy alcohol consumption continues to be prevalent in urban and rural Cape-Colored communities (Carter et al., 2005; Jacobson, Jacobson, Molteno, & Odendaal 2006), and weekend binge drinking is a major source of recreation for many in the community. Given that FASD frequently occurs within the context of a high-risk environment, it is important to distinguish between the harmful effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and the additional impairment that may result from being reared in an environment in which the mother or both parents drink heavily. This South African sample offers the opportunity to replicate the previous findings from the Detroit study and to attempt to further disambiguate the alcohol effects from potentially confounding socioemotional concomitants of being raised by a drinking mother. The second focus of the study was to examine the degree to which symbolic play in infancy provides an early indicator of fetal alcohol-related impairment, as indicated by FAS diagnosis and verbal competence in childhood.