The Early Development and Family Environments of Children Born to Mothers Engaged in Methadone Maintenance During Pregnancy.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Introduction. There is clear evidence that children raised in families affected by parental drug use are at high risk for a wide range of adverse outcomes, including; early cognitive and language delay (van Baar & de Graaff, 1994); poor school attendance and educational under-achievement (Hogan & Higgins, 2001; Steinhausen, Blattmann, & Pfund, 2007); substance abuse and psychological problems (Keller, Catalano, Haggerty, & Fleming, 2002; Kilpatrick, Acierno, Saunders, Resnick, Best, & Schnurr, 2000; Kolar, 1994; Lagasse, Hammond, Liu, Lester, Shankaran, Bada et al., 2006; Merikangas, Dierker, & Szatmari, 1998; Moss, Vanyukov, Majumder, Kirisci, & Tarter, 1995; Nunes, Weissman, Goldstein, McAvay, Beckford, Seracini et al., 2000; Nunes, Weissman, Goldstein, McAvay, Seracini, Verdeli et al., 1998; Stanger, Higgins, Bickel, Elk, Grabowski, Schmitz et al., 1999). Careful examination of the impact of parental drug use on children and the developmental mechanisms associated with risk and resilience is central to the establishment of appropriate intervention. Children born to mothers who are drug dependent and enrolled in methadone maintenance treatment during pregnancy face the “double jeopardy” of prenatal drug exposure and post-natal environmental disadvantage (Zuckerman & Brown, 1993). This research aimed to identify early developmental difficulties or differences in communicative and cognitive development, and in particular the joint attention skills, of young children born to mothers engaged in methadone maintenance treatment. Of particular interest was the way in which pre- and postnatal factors combined to influence developmental outcome at age 2 years. This prospective, longitudinal study offered the opportunity to indentify early indicators of developmental differences in this group and thus, contribute to a better understanding of the long-term mechanisms of risk. Research M