The goal of this study is to better understand the nature of mother-child relationships in dyads where the mother is drug addicted. While considerable effort has been devoted to studying the development of children exposed prenatally to drugs of abuse, little consideration has been given to the risks faced by these children after birth as a consequence of being born to a drug-using mother. Our hypothesis is that the quality of mother-child relationships will be closely related to maternal psychopathology. In particular, we predict that maternal antisocial and related personality disorder will result in unbalanced maternal representations of the child and in insensitive, intrusive, hostile parenting which in turn is reflected in the children's insecure attachments and coercive interactional styles. We predict that maternal depression--in the absence of personality disorder--will be related to more subtle patterns of disengagement from interaction with the child. With a sample of 150 drug-using women and their 30- to 60-month-old children, we plan to document the degree of balance in the mothers' mental representations of their children (Zeanah's Working Model of the Child Interview), the mothers' views about parenting and children (Bavolek's Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory), and the quality of actual mother- child interaction in situations that tap different relationship themes (attachment, teaching, socialization, attachment, and engagement in shared routines. Different aspects of the interaction will be rates using Crittenden's Preschool Assessment of Attachment, the Mother-Child Project teaching scales, the Parent Child Observation Guide and event coding to examine processes of maternal control and child compliance. We plan to assess the mothers' current and lifetime DMS-IV psychiatric diagnoses using the SCID and SCID-11 interviews and their current self-reported symptoms using the SCL-90-R. In exploring the major hypotheses we will also give consideration to a system of other variables that might be determinants of maternal psychopathology or non-optimal parental beliefs and behavior. These variables include the mother's history of early care; the mother's history of physical and sexual abuse; the mother's current psychosocial stressors; and the mother's current social support system.
|Hans, Sydney L (2002) Studies of prenatal exposure to drugs: focusing on parental care of children. Neurotoxicol Teratol 24:329-37|
|Hans, S L (1999) Demographic and psychosocial characteristics of substance-abusing pregnant women. Clin Perinatol 26:55-74|