Substance-Abusing Mothers: Toward an Understanding of Parenting and Risk Behavior

  • Mor YehudaiEmail author
  • Orly Sarid
  • Alexander Reznik
  • Patricia A. Findley
  • Richard Isralowitz
Part of the Advances in Mental Health and Addiction book series (AMHA)


The use of harmful substances is a worldwide problem that has a major impact on maternal parenting skills. This study, conducted in cooperation with Professor Debra Murphy of Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, University of California, Los Angeles, examined personal characteristics of substance-abusing mothers and their parenting skills. The study was conducted at the methadone maintenance clinic in Israel where lifetime substance users receive methadone treatment. Results show type of drug used affected anxiety and parenting skills—mothers using alcohol and cannabis had higher stress levels and parenting problems; those using prescription drugs with older children had higher levels of anxiety. Also, higher levels of anxiety were found among mothers who served time in jail/prison. Surprisingly, mothers using opiates reported lower levels of stress compared to mothers that do not. As for parental skills, mothers of children over the age of 18 had more difficulties gaining their child’s cooperation. Mothers who reported higher levels of suicidal thoughts or attempts showed increased parental disappointment about the child, felt rejected by the child, were not satisfied by their parent–child interactions, and had a hard time gaining the child’s cooperation. This study, believed to be the first of its kind in Israel, provides important details about substance-abusing mothers in methadone maintenance treatment and information relevant for service provision and staff training.


Suicidal Behavior Parenting Stress Suicidal Thought Antisocial Personality Disorder Methadone Maintenance Treatment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mor Yehudai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Orly Sarid
    • 2
  • Alexander Reznik
    • 3
  • Patricia A. Findley
    • 4
  • Richard Isralowitz
    • 2
  1. 1.Spitzer School of Social Work, Ben Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Spitzer Department of Social Work, Ben Gurion UniversityBeer ShevaIsrael
  3. 3.Senior Research AssociateRegional Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research (RADAR) Center, Ben Gurion UniversityBeer ShevaIsrael
  4. 4.School of Social Work, Rutgers UniversityThe State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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