Research has found that a significant number of women in substance use treatment are mothers, a role that serves to extend the potential harms of substance use to children. Problematic substance use has been linked to less effective parenting in a number of ways, including higher rates of punitive and physical discipline, more passive and disengaged interactions with children, greater parenting stress, and limited knowledge of child development. Research has shown that executive functions (EF) play an important role in effective and sensitive parenting. As such, issues of EF weakness may be particularly salient for mothers with problematic substance use, given that frequently occurring biological, psychological, and contextual risks in this population are associated with increased risk for EF challenges.
We are currently conducting a multi-methods study on executive functioning in mothers with problematic substance use to determine how EF abilities may be linked to parenting outcomes.
Data collection is now finished and we are looking forward to sharing outcomes shortly. Stay tuned!
Thanks to all of the mothers, children and agencies who helped with this study!