Behavior in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Remote Australia: A Population-Based Study

Tracey W. Tsang, Heather Carmichael Olson, Jane Latimer, James Fitzpatrick, Marmingee Hand, June Oscar, Maureen Carter, Elizabeth J. Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE:: To document behavior in children residing in very remote Western Australian communities as rated by parent/caregivers and teachers. We hypothesized that children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) would have higher rates of problematic behavior than children without FASD. METHODS:: The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; n = 97), and Teacher Report Form (TRF; n = 106) were used in this population-based study. Raw scores, proportions scoring within “Normal/Borderline/Clinical” ranges, and frequencies of Critical items were determined. Mann–Whitney U and χ tests were used for between-group comparisons. RESULTS:: Children were aged from 7.5 to 9.6 years, and 19% had FASD. Academic performance was commonly rated in the “Borderline/Clinical” range (73%). Teacher-rated scores were poorer in the FASD group on 15 scales encompassing total and internalizing problems, adaptive function, academic performance, attention, withdrawn/depressed, social problems, posttraumatic stress, thought problems, and sluggish cognitive tempo (p <.05). More children in the FASD group had scores in the “Borderline/Clinical” range on 11 TRF scales (p <.05). “Physically attacks people” was the most prevalent Critical item endorsed by teachers for the total cohort (22%). “Talks about killing self” was endorsed by teachers more often in the FASD group (14%) than the Non-FASD group (1%; p = .03). There were no significant differences between groups in parent-reported CBCL scores after adjustment for multiple comparison testing. CONCLUSION:: This study demonstrates that children with FASD have more teacher-reported behavioral impairment than children without FASD. In remote Australian communities, academic performance is poor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-537
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


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