International research and practice in pediatric psychology: challenges and new directions.
Triangulation is the use of multiple concepts and methods to study a single phenomenon. Ethnographic field studies and standardized measures of development were used in a study of long-term effects of perinatal cannabis (marijuana) use in Jamaica. The study was launched in 1983 in order to evaluate the effects of cannabis (or ganja, as it is called in Jamaica) consumption during pregnancy and lactation on infants from birth to school age in rural communities. Some researchers reported symptoms such as increased startles, high-pitched cry in the newborn, shortened gestation, and low birth weight. The project was based in St. Thomas, where ganja use is widespread. The ethnographic part involved home observations and interviews of each child in selected communities. The clinical component included monitoring 60 pregnant women (30 users and 30 nonusers) and their offspring from birth through age 5. The instruments for evaluation included the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale (BNAS), the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID), the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (MSCA, for children aged 2 years 6 months to 8 years 6 months), and the Behavioral Style Questionnaire (BSQ, for temperament in 3 to 7 year olds). The MSCA and BSQ had to be adapted to local culture, partly because of different uses of words in the rural dialect and cultural experience. The MSCA modifications included the elimination of time limits, changes in language, and culturally correct alternative responses. Five of 72 items on the BSQ were modified. Most scores fell in the middle range of about 4, similar to the North American scores, except for the lower mean in the category of Threshold of Responsiveness, because of an unanticipated cultural difference. The adjustments made did not compromise the comparability of the findings.