Project: Research project

Project Details


The Scientist Development Award (SDA) is requested to enable the candidate
to develop an independent program of research in the area of maternal
substance abuse and child development. More specifically, the candidate
is interested in understanding the impact of maternal substance use on
parenting and the caregiving environment of drug exposed children. Four
major career development goals are proposed for the SDA period. First,
candidate will become familiar with the literature on the psychological
and pharmacological effects of illicit drugs on adult behavior and on the
developing fetus. Second, two preliminary studies will be conducted
during the SDA period. The major purpose of these studies will be to gain
supervised research experience with drug using women, their children, and
the environmental context in which these children are raised. These
studies will also inform the design and methodology for a RO1 proposal on
substance using mothers and their children. The third career development
plan is to obtain training in the use and coding of specific observational
paradigms. These paradigms will be used in the research program to
examine child temperament and naturally occurring interactions within
substance using families. Lastly, coursework in longitudinal data
analytic techniques will allow for more sophisticated analyses of
longitudinal data collected during the SDA period and planned for the
research program. These career development activities will be conducted at
the Research Institute on Addictions, which has a history of fostering the
development of independent researchers in the substance abuse field.

The majority of mothers and newborns tested for drugs at local area
hospitals tend to be from lower SES, African-American or Hispanic
families. Thus, the first preliminary study will focus on adapting
existing measures to incorporate the effects of impoverished living
conditions and minority group status on the caregiving environment. The
major purpose of the second study will be to generate descriptive
information about parenting and caregiving environments of drug exposed
infants across the first year of life and the ways in which these factors
influence the social-emotional development of drug exposed infants.

The theoretical formulations regarding the role of these
psychosocial/environmental factors on the development of children of
substance using mothers will be used to guide this program of research
(Hans, 1991; Marcus & Hans, 1982). This perspective necessitates a
longitudinal design to assess long-term consequences of maternal substance
use. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding the factors that
moderate and/or mediate the relationship between maternal substance use
and child development. An increased understanding of these factors and the
ways in which they contribute to development across the childhood years
may be used to design prevention and intervention programs.
Effective start/end date8/5/957/31/01


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse


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