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A Methodological Pilot: Parenting Among Women in Substance Abuse Treatment

Lewin, Linda PhD, PMHCNS-BC; Farkas, Kathleen PhD, LISW; Niazi, Maryam RN, MSN, PMHNP-BC

doi: 10.1097/JAN.0000000000000017
Original Papers

Background Mothers who abuse substances are likely to have insecure emotional attachment with their children, placing their children at risk for social–emotional and psychiatric conditions. Sobriety does not inevitably improve parenting.

Objectives We tested recruitment methods, audiovisual (AV) recording procedures, the protocol for identifying child abuse risk, the coding of mother–child interactions, and retention of the sample for repeated measures as the first phase in examining mother–child relational quality of women in substance abuse treatment.

Design This innovative study involved AV recordings to capture the in-vivo mother–child interactional behaviors that were later coded and analyzed for mean scores on the 64-item Parent–Child Relational Quality Assessment. Repeated measurement was planned during treatment and two months after discharge from treatment.

Results The pilot involved a small sample (n = 11) of mother–child (<6 years) dyads. Highest and lowest ratings of interaction behaviors were identified. Mothers showed less enthusiasm and creativity but matched their child’s emotional state. The children showed appropriate motor skill items and attachment behaviors. The dyad coding showed less mutual enjoyment between the mother and child. Eight of the participants could not be located for the second measurement despite multiple contact methods.

Conclusions AV recordings capture rich, descriptive information that can be coded for interactional quality analysis. Repeated measurement with this cohort was not feasible, thus needing to assess for additional/more frequent contacts to maintain the sample.

Linda Lewin, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, College of Nursing, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

Kathleen Farkas, PhD, LISW, Mandel Applied Social Sciences, and Maryam Niazi, RN, MSN, PMHNP-BC, School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

The authors acknowledge funding for this study from the American Psychiatric Nurse Foundation.

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the article.

Correspondence related to content to: Linda Lewin, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, College of Nursing, Wayne State University, 5557 Cass Avenue, Detroit MI 48202. E-mail:

© 2014International Nurses Society on Addictions
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