A comparison study of treated and untreated pregnant and postpartum cocaine-abusing women. Smith IE. Dent DZ. Coles CD. Falek A. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 9(4):343-8, 1992.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether untreated pregnant and recently post-partum cocaine-abusing women could be differentiated from women who enrolled in drug treatment programs. The experimental sample was selected from women referred to the Georgia Addiction, Pregnancy, and Parenting Project, an intervention program for pregnant and postpartum addicted women, between January 1987 and January 1988 (n = 45). The comparison group was randomly selected from women who were admitted to two (2) day treatment programs during the same time period (n = 50). Groups were compared using the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and the Psychiatric Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90). Results indicated that untreated women were less impaired socially and exhibited fewer symptoms of psychiatric distress. These findings confirm the commonly held belief that the severity of psychosocial distress may be an important motivating factor in the decision to enter drug treatment. Alternatively, the lack of gender-sensitive program components, such as childcare, and the social stigma attached to drug use in pregnancy may also account for the reluctance of pregnant and post-partum mothers to seek drug treatment. Implications for the development of intervention and treatment programs for women are discussed.

















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