UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Service-engaged early parenting women who have problematic substance use : factors they find helpful and hindering DuMerton, Cheryl Lynn


Women who use and misuse drugs while parenting infants and young children are a growing population which is of concern. Caregiving mothers who use illicit drugs are especially maligned by society which often causes them to isolate and prevents them from seeking help. There is a gap in our knowledge about what women in this population say facilitates or impedes them on their journeys toward change. This research study explored the helpful and hindering factors that were described by early parenting women who struggled with substance use issues. Twenty service-engaged women participated in this qualitative project aimed to present a picture of their recent parental experiences and other psychological phenomena. The Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT) is a valid and reliable method that was chosen for its practical and flexible features. The comprehensive method used semi-structured interviews and involved probing participants for rich details in order to capture clear and complete descriptions. The results from fourteen major themes that were generated from the data stressed important subjects such as trauma, social issues and systemic concerns. The results provided implications for professionals assisting women that include psychologists, counsellors, integrated program providers and the greater treatment system. Future research could critically engage with important topics that were raised in the study such as the overrepresentation of Indigenous participants.

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