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Infant Ment Health J. 2012 Jan;33(1):70-81. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

SUBSTANCE-ABUSING MOTHERS IN RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT WITH THEIR BABIES: IMPORTANCE OF PRE- AND POSTNATAL MATERNAL REFLECTIVE FUNCTIONING.

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  • 1University of Turku.

Abstract

A residential treatment program has been developed specifically for substance-abusing pregnant and parenting women in Finland, focusing on simultaneously supporting maternal abstinence from substances and the mother-baby relationship. The aims of the study are to explore maternal pre- and postnatal reflective functioning and its association with background factors, maternal exposure to trauma, and psychiatric symptoms, postnatal interaction, child development, and later child foster care placement. Participants were 34 mother-baby pairs living in three residential program units during the pre- to postnatal period. We employed self-report questionnaires on background, trauma history, and psychiatric symptoms (Brief Symptom Inventory: L.R. Derogatis, 1993; Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale: J.L. Cox, J.M. Holden, & R. Sagovsky, 1987; Traumatic Antecedents Questionnaire: B. Van der Kolk, 2003), videotaped mother-child interactions coded for sensitivity, control, and unresponsiveness (Care Index for Infants and Toddlers: P. Crittenden, 2003); a standardized test of child development (Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II: N. Bayley, 1993); and semistructured interviews for maternal reflective functioning (Pregnancy Interview: A. Slade, E. Bernbach, J. Grienenberger, D.W. Levy, & A. Locker, 2002; Parent Development Interview: A. Slade et al., 2005). Pre- and postnatal maternal reflective functioning (RF) was on average low, but varied considerably across participants. Average RF increased significantly during the intervention. Increase in RF level was found to be associated with type of abused substance and maternal trauma history. Mothers who showed lower postnatal RF levels relapsed to substance use more often after completing a residential treatment period, and their children were more likely to be placed in foster care. The intensive focus on maternal RF is an important direction in the development of efficacious treatment for this very high risk population.

PMID:
22899872
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3418818
Free PMC Article
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