Smoking during pregnancy can be considered as a serious public health problem, as it creates adverse effects on both the mother and the infant (Floyd, Rimer, Giovino, Mullen, & Sullivan, 1993) Though it has not been clearly established, several studies have shown that maternal smoking in pregnancy has a positive association with behavioral disorders in the offspring. The nature of this association could not be established clearly, as there may be other smoking-related vulnerability factors, which might affect the behavior of the children.
We will write a custom Essay on Research Hypothesis and Issues in Interpreting Data specifically for you
807 certified writers online
Results of several studies have indicated a relationship between maternal smoking and anti-social behavior of of the infants. Prenatal maternal smoking has been found to be associated with chronic ischemia, hypoxia, increased tremors and increased startle response in the infants (Brennan, Grekin, & Mednick, 1999). Prenatal risk factors may lead to persistent and violent criminal outcomes in the off springs. Prenatal maternal smoking has been identified to be an additional factor having an impact on the behavior of the infants.
A study on the increased rate of crime in adult offspring due to maternal smoking during pregnancy would throw light on the association between the maternal smoking and behavioral patterns of the off springs. The research hypothesis that maternal smoking during pregnancy is related to the criminal behavior of the adult offspring can be theoretically supported by the study.
Interpretation of Data
Several cautions are to be considered while interpreting the collected data on maternal smoking. This is due to the following reasons.
- The research needs to be based on the information on smoking, which is self-reported, includes status of smoking, and mean number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy.
- The data on smoking status by the respondents would usually be self-reported and the recording of the data on smoking habits during at least three or four stages of pregnancy has to be done to have more reliability. There might have been additional changes that might have occurred in the intermittent periods, which were not included in the database.
- The information on the smoking status would be reported retrospectively at the first prenatal visit. This would result in systematic underreporting of several factors like the status of smoking, the number of cigarettes smoked and the pattern of smoking. Termed self-deception has been estimated to be in the order of more than 25% in one study (Ford, Tappin, Schulter, & Wild, 1996).
- There may be other medical problems connected with pregnancy like anemia or blood pressure or any other medical issues that might have had an impact on the health of the infant which have to be taken into consideration. Similarly, the delivery complications during prenatal stage and during delivery may also have significant effect on the change of behavior of the infants.
- The proportion of the participants for whom complete information would be available as compared to the total population may pose a significant issue. The social and behavioral factors also need to be considered while considering the validity of the information reported by the respondents.
- The use of prescription drugs during the pregnancy is another important aspect that may have an impact on the mental health of the child. Therefore, any study has to consider the self-report of use of prescription medicines during pregnancy while interpreting the data and information collected from the respondents.
Brennan, P. A., Grekin, E. R., & Mednick, S. A. (1999). Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Adult Male Criminal Outcomes. Arch General Psychiatry , 56, 215.
Floyd, R. L., Rimer, B. K., Giovino, G. A., Mullen, P. D., & Sullivan, S. E. (1993). A review of smoking in pregnancy: effects on pregnancy outcomes and cessation efforts. Annual Review of Public Health , 14, 379-411.
Ford, R. P., Tappin, D. M., Schulter, P. J., & Wild, C. J. (1996). Smoking during pregnancy: How reliable are maternal self reports in New Zealand? Journal of Epidemiol Community Health , 51, 246-251.