Khalifa, N., Magee, T., Shirazi, S., Salman, S., Yang, C.-C., & Mela, M. (2021). The neurocognitive profiles of justice involved people with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder: A systematic review. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 1– 35. https://doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2550
Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is highly prevalent in criminal justice settings. Despite increased awareness of the neurocognitive deficits among justice-involved individuals with FASD, no systematic evaluation of the literature in the field has been conducted to date.
We aimed to conduct a systematic review of the literature on the neurocognitive profiles of justice-involved individuals with FASD, by searching five key electronic databases, dissertations database, and Google scholar, up to January 2021.
The findings indicate that when contrasted with comparison groups, justice-involved individuals with FASD display significant impairment in a greater number of neurocognitive domains including intellectual capacity, executive function, language, academic achievements, motor skills, and adaptive living skills. The relatively small number of the studies included in the review, along with the confounding effects of comorbidities among study participants, precludes drawing firm conclusions about the true extent and implications of neurocognitive deficits in this population.
To advance the field further, there is an urgent need to conduct robust studies involving larger samples of justice-involved individuals with FASD and suitable comparison groups. Advancing knowledge in the field can have important implications for understanding of the antecedents of offending behaviour in this population, and informing strategies for early identification and intervention.
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