Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics: Parenting
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 5
Katherine L. Guyon-Harris, PhD, LP (she/her/hers)
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
In the context of recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD), difficulties with parenting may be amplified by the stress of ongoing recovery and psychosocial challenges that commonly co-occur with OUD (e.g., depression, interpersonal violence), which also impact parenting. Identifying risks for potential parenting challenges during pregnancy can facilitate the delivery of parenting interventions to support the development of healthy parent–child relationships. In our past work, negative descriptions of a child’s personality before they are born were associated with negative postnatal parenting behavior in a non-substance using sample with elevated sociodemographic risks (e.g., poverty, violence exposure).
To characterize the use of positive and negative child descriptors among pregnant people in recovery from OUD and better understand the potential postnatal parenting strengths and risks for pregnant people in recovery.
Pregnant people (N=18; mean age=30.06, SD=3.33) were recruited from clinics providing medications to treat OUD within a large birthing hospital (recovery sample). Through a semi-structured interview, participants described their child’s imagined personality in up to five words or phrases. A high-risk but non-opioid using comparison sample comprised 120 pregnant women (mean age=26.16, SD=5.71) reporting high rates of economic disadvantage and intimate partner violence, but not opioid use, who completed the same prompt to describe their child’s personality. See Table 1 for demographic characteristics. Child descriptions in both samples were coded as positive, neutral, or negative by a computer program designed for sentiment analysis.
The average proportion of positive descriptors (to neutral or negative) in the recovery sample was similar to the comparison sample (see Table 2). The proportion of negative descriptors (to neutral or positive) was higher in the recovery sample relative to the comparison sample; over one-third of participants in the recovery sample provided at least one negative description of their child’s personality compared to 16% in the comparison sample.
Those in recovery may view their unborn infants more negatively than parents without OUD, even those who face other forms of adversity. In our presentation, we will discuss potential implications for postnatal parenting and opportunities for intervention through highlighting our past work in the comparison sample where greater use of negative descriptors was associated with lower maternal sensitivity and higher interference during observed caregiver-infant interactions.