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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2001 Jan-Mar;33(1):83-93.

Psychological distress and substance use by adolescent mothers: associations with parenting attitudes and the quality of mother-child interaction.

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School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


This study examines associations between psychological distress and alcohol and drug use across the first five years of raising a child and parenting quality at child age six for 185 adolescent mothers. Overall, alcohol and other drug use in this sample was relatively low, but drug use was associated with more mother-reported unrealistic expectations of child behavior and more attributions of child intent to annoy parent by misbehaving. Maternal psychological distress was associated with maternal reports of negative control (yelling, pushing, spanking, etc.), and alcohol use moderated the association between psychological distress and negative control. At low levels of alcohol use, more maternal distress was associated with greater negative control; at higher levels of alcohol use, maternal distress was not related to negative control, but the absolute level of negative control was similar to that reported by more distressed mothers. Neither psychological distress nor alcohol and other drug use were related to maternal behavior during an interaction task. Overall, much stronger associations with parenting outcomes were found for an index of maternal vocabulary, compared with maternal psychological distress or maternal alcohol and other drug use.

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