The articles below were selected by a group of Canada FASD Research Network (CanFASD) staff, researchers, and Family Advisory Committee members to highlight some of the work that has been published over the last year in the field of FASD.

A search of Web of Science, PubMed, PsycInfo, CINAHL, and Ovid Medline databases yielded over 400 articles published in 2020 on FASD. Many of these were excellent publications and the final list was narrowed down to focus on CanFASD’s areas of emphasis in FASD assessment and diagnosis, intervention, mental health, prevention, child welfare, justice, and family collaboration. Additional consideration for what constituted the “top” articles included:

  • Generalizability to Canadians
  • Influence on practice or policy
  • Novelty
  • Scientific rigour
  • Media attention

Final selections were categorized by area of focus, and limited to 5 articles or less per category. All articles are published in peer-reviewed journals. They are arranged in alphabetical order by first author’s surname, and those in bold are available in open access.

Assessment, Diagnosis, and Clinical Presentation of FASD

  1. Flannigan, K., Kapasi, A., Pei, J., Murdoch, I., Andrew, G., & Rasmussen, C. (2020). Characterizing adverse childhood experiences among children and adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Child Abuse and Neglect, 112, 104888. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104888
  2. Hanlon-Dearman, A., Proven, S., Scheepers, K., Cheung, K., Marles, S., the MB FASD Centre Team. (2020). Ten years of evidence for the diagnostic assessment of preschoolers with prenatal alcohol exposure. Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 27(3), e49-e68.
    Abstract   Article
  3. McLachlan, K., Flannigan, K., Temple, V., Unsworth, K., & Cook, J. L. (2020). Difficulties in daily living experienced by adolescents, transition-aged youth, and adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44(8), 1609-1624. doi:10.1111/acer.14385
  4. Mela, M., Hanlon-Dearman, A., Ahmed, A. G., Rich, S. D., Densmore, R., Reid, D., . . . Loock, C. (2020). Treatment algorithm for the use of psychopharmacological agents in individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol and/or with diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 27(3), e1-e13. doi:10.15586/jptcp.v27i3.681
  5. Whittingham, L. M., & Coons-Harding, K. D. (2020). Connecting people with people: Diagnosing persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder using telehealth. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders. doi:10.1007/s10803- 020-04607-z


  1. Flannigan, K., Coons-Harding, K. D., Anderson, T., Wolfson, L., Campbell, A., Mela, M., & Pei, J. (2020). A systematic review of interventions to improve mental health and substance use outcomes for individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44(12), 2401-2430. doi:10.1111/acer.14490
  2. Reid, N., White, C., Hawkins, E., Crawford, A., Liu, W., & Shanley, D. (2020). Outcomes and needs of health and education professionals following fetal alcohol spectrum disorder-specific training. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health, 56(2), 317-323. doi:10.1111/jpc.14608
  3. Quan,R.,Brintnell,E.S.,&Leung,A.W.S.(2019). Elements for developing community-based interventions for adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: A scoping review. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 82(4), 201-212. doi:10.1177/0308022618790206
  4. Vidal, R., Vidal, L., Ristol, F., Domènec, E., Segú, M., Vico, C., . . . Ramos-Quiroga, J. A. (2020). Dog-assisted therapy for children and adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders a randomized controlled pilot study. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1080. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01080

Mental Health

  1. Beauchamp,K.G.,Lowe,J.,Schrader,R.M.,Shrestha,S.,Aragón,C.,Moss,N.,…Bakhireva,L.N.(2020). Self-regulation and emotional reactivity in infants with prenatal exposure to opioids and alcohol. Early Human Development, 148, 105119. doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2020.105119
  2. Burgess,D.J.,&Moritz,K.M.(2020).Prenatal alcohol exposure and developmental programming of mental illness. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, 11(3), 211-221. doi:10.1017/s2040174420000082
  3. Ettekal,I.,Eiden,R.D.,Nickerson,A.B.,Molnar,D.S.,&Schuetze,P.(2020).Developmental cascades to children’s conduct problems: The role of prenatal substance use, socioeconomic adversity, maternal depression and sensitivity, and children’s conscience. Developmental Psychopathology, 32(1), 85-103. doi:10.1017/s095457941800144x
  4. Grimm,J.,Stemmler,M.,Golub,Y.,Schwenke,E.,Goecke,T.W.,Fasching,P.A.,…Eichler,A.(2020).The association between prenatal alcohol consumption and preschool child stress system disturbance. Developmental Psychobiology. doi:10.1002/dev.22038

Prevention and Maternal Health

  1. Erng,M.N.,Smirnov,A.,&Reid,N.(2020).Prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder among pregnant and postpartum women: A systematic review. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44(12), 2431-2448. doi:10.1111/acer.14489
  2. Graves,L.,Carson,G.,Poole,N.,Patel,T.,Bigalky,J.,Green,C.R.,&Cook,J.L.(2020). Guideline No.405: Screening and Counselling for Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 42(9), 1158-+. doi:10.1016/j.jogc.2020.03.002
  3. Pedruzzi,R.A.,Hamilton,O.,Hodgson,H.H.A.,Connor,E.,Johnson,E.,&Fitzpatrick,J.(2020).’We do what we can as soon as we can’ Alcohol and Other Drug workforce perspectives on preventing and responding to prenatal alcohol exposure. Drugs-Education Prevention and Policy. doi:10.1080/09687637.2020.1843600
  4. Racine,N.,McDonald,S.,Chaput,K.,Tough,S.,&Madigan,S.(2020).Maternal substance use in pregnancy: Differential prediction by childhood adversity subtypes. Preventive Medicine, 141, 106303. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106303
  5. Rutman,D.,Hubberstey,C.,Poole,N.,Schmidt,R.A.,&VanBibber,M.(2020).Multi-service prevention programs for pregnant and parenting women with substance use and multiple vulnerabilities: Program structure and clients’ perspectives on wraparound programming. BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth, 20(1), 441. doi:10.1186/s12884-020-03109-1

Child Welfare

  1. Burns,J.,Badry,D.E.,Harding,K.D.,Roberts,N.,Unsworth,K.,&Cook,J.L.(2021).Comparingoutcomesof children and youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the child welfare system to those in other living situations in Canada: Results from the Canadian National FASD Database. Child: Care, Health & Development, 47(1), 77-84. doi:10.1111/cch.12817
  2. Patel,M.,Agnihotri,S.,Hawkins,C.,Levin,L.,Goodman,D.,&Simpson,A.(2020).IdentifyingFetalAlcohol Spectrum Disorder and psychiatric comorbidity for children and youth in care: A community approach to diagnosis and treatment. Children and Youth Services Review, 108, 104606. doi:


  1. Biddle,Z.,O’Callaghan,F.V.,Finlay-Jones,A.L., & Reid,N.E.(2020).Caregivers of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Psychosocial factors and evidence for self-compassion as a potential intervention target. Mindfulness, 11(9), 2189-2198. doi:10.1007/s12671-020-01443-1
  2. Kautz,C.,Parr,J.,&Petrenko,C.L.M.(2020).Self-care in caregivers of childrenwith FASD: How do caregivers care for themselves, and what are the benefits and obstacles for doing so? Research in Developmental Disabilities, 99, 103578. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2020.103578
  3. Skorka,K.,McBryde,C.,Copley,J.,Meredith,P.J.,&Reid,N.(2020).Experiences of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and their families: A critical review. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44(6), 1175-1188. doi:10.1111/acer.14335


  1. McLachlan,K.,Amlung,M.,Vedelago,L.,&Chaimowitz,G.(2020).Screening for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in forensic mental health settings. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 31(5), 643-666. doi:10.1080/14789949.2020.1781919
  2. McLachlan,K.,Mullally,K.,Ritter,C.,Mela,M.,&Pei,J.(2020).Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and neurodevelopmental disorders: An international practice survey of forensic mental health clinicians. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health. doi:10.1080/14999013.2020.1852342
  3. Mela,M.,Flannigan,K.,Anderson,T.,Nelson,M.,Krishnan,S.,Chizea,C.,…Sanjanwala,R.(2020). Neurocognitive function and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in offenders with mental Disorders. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 48(2), 195-208. doi:10.29158/jaapl.003886-20
  4. Mullally,K.,McLachlan,K.,MacKillop,E.,&Pei,J.(2020).Performance validity testing injustice-involved adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 26(7), 701-713. doi:10.1017/s1355617720000132

Stigma/Policy Issues

  1. Roozen,S.,Stutterheim,S.E.,Bos,A.E.R.,Kok,G.,&Curfs,L.M.G.(2020).Understanding the social stigma of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: From theory to interventions. Foundations of Science. doi:10.1007/s10699- 020-09676-y

Brain Science

  1. Andre,Q.R.,McMorris,C.A.,Kar,P.,Ritter,C.,BenGibbard,W.,Tortorelli,C.,&Lebel,C.(2020).Different brain profiles in children with prenatal alcohol exposure with or without early adverse exposures. Human Brain Mapping, 41(15), 4375-4385. doi:10.1002/hbm.25130
  2. McLachlan,K.,Zhou,D.,Little,G.,Rasmussen,C.,Pei,J.,Andrew,G.,…Beaulieu,C.(2020).Current socioeconomic status correlates with brain volumes in healthy children and adolescents but not in children with prenatal alcohol exposure. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 14, 223. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2020.00223