Modeling the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Coles, Claire D. PsycCRITIQUES. 2004, [np]. American Psychological Assn
Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1996, Vol 41(2), 145-146. This book is a detailed description of an ambitious effort to understand the effects of maternal alcohol use during pregnancy on the development of the child from birth through early school age. As such, it has the potential to be of interest to a number of different groups: developmental psychologists, policymakers, educational psychologists, and specialists in public health and substance abuse. When the study was initiated, many different alcohol indicators were collected, as well as reams of data about potentially confounding factors and, over the next seven years, hundreds of outcome measures and potential mediators. Eventually, with a vast number of data points, much of it involving repeated measures, on approximately 500 mothers and their children, the authors faced the task of bringing meaning to their findings. This book is the result of their efforts. One limitation of the book is that it describes the outcomes of the research mostly in terms derived from the statistical methodology used, making the discussion difficult for the nonstatistician to understand. This difficulty in reading is unfortunate because of the potential value of this study. The study design was well thought out, the data collected carefully, the analyses exhaustively done. For these reasons, this book represents a valuable resource, albeit a technical exercise, for the developmental researcher or the statistician looking for a methodology for dealing with complex data sets.
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