n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - An explorative study on the impact of prenatal methamphetamine (tik) abuse on early child and school behaviour

Special Edition 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This study sought to understand the impact of maternal methamphetamine abuse on early child and school going behaviour. The aim of the research is to determine the social environment of the substance addicted mothers, the type of substance they used during pregnancy, the pregnancy itself and potential complications, the birth and the attitude of the mothers towards the damaging impact of their addiction on the foetus. Questionnaires and interviews were administered to mothers who used methamphetamine during pregnancy and teachers who work with methamphetamine exposed children. This was done to determine the impact of maternal methamphetamine use on children's cognitive development and functioning at school. The research found that most of the mothers used methamphetamine during pregnancy and that they are aware of the dangers associated with pregnancy and substance abuse. Some of the personality and cognitive abilities include hyperactivity, an inclination to temper tantrums, poor reasoning skills, limited motivation and delayed physical, academic and social development. The research findings correlates with the Social Disorganisation Theory, which singles out unstable family backgrounds with the prevalence of unemployment, substance abuse, crime (theft to feed the habit), single parents and poverty amongst methamphetamine addicted mothers. Finally, the study advocates physical and academic interventions for teachers in the class situation to deal with methamphetamine exposed children, as well as the need for further prenatal substance abuse research.

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