The perinatal period: A window of opportunity for change and recovery among (expecting) mothers struggling with substance use?

01 January 2024 → 31 December 2027
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Child welfare
    • Family support
    • Parenting problems
    • Parenting support
Parenting Early child development Mother-Child Separation
Project description

Substance Use (SU) during the perinatal period presents a complex challenge, due to direct consequences of prenatal substance exposure for infant health and development, and potential parenting difficulties. This results in frequent admission of children of SU parents within the child welfare system, although it has been demonstrated that (early) separation has adverse effects on child health and development. Yet, not all women struggling with SU are unable to parent effectively, and the perinatal period has been identified as a Window of Opportunity for change, depending on available recovery capital. This study aims to explore the role of recovery capital in promoting positive outcomes for mothers and their children. Adopting a multi-method, multi-informant approach – focusing on mothers, professionals, and the informal network - this study addresses four
research objectives: (1) to assess recovery capital and ‘good enough parenting' among young mothers in SU recovery, (2) to examine mother’s mental health, the maternal-fetal relationship and early mother-child dynamics during the perinatal period, (3) to explore mothering and the mother infant bond during the first six months of parenthood, and (4) to define basic conditions allowing mothers with SU problems to retain custody. The results of this study will contribute to a more
strengths-based understanding of perinatal SU and inform more tailored support for affected families.