• Journal Article

African-American women who use crack cocaine: a comparison of mothers who live with and have been separated from their children

Citation

Lam, W., Wechsberg, W., & Zule, W. (2004). African-American women who use crack cocaine: a comparison of mothers who live with and have been separated from their children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28(11), 1229-1247.

Abstract

Objective: This study examined factors that influenced caregiver status for African-American mothers who use crack cocaine but are not receiving drug treatment and participated in an HIV prevention study in North Carolina. Method: Caregiver mothers who were living with at least one of their children at intake (n = 257) were compared with non-Caregivers who were separated from all of their children (n = 378). Bivariate analyses and logistic regression were used to compare these mothers at intake on current drug use, risky sex practices, psychological symptoms, victimization, and aggression. Results: Compared with Caregiver mothers, non-Caregivers reported higher frequencies of drug use, risky sex practices, psychological distress, and victimization experiences. Caregiver mothers were more likely than non-Caregiver mothers to have health insurance, but were less likely to have received drug treatment. Logistic regression found that non-Caregiver mothers were significantly more likely than Caregiver mothers to be older, to have been physically abused as children, to trade sex more frequently, to be homeless, and to have no health insurance. Recent crack use, psychological symptoms, and victimization were not significantly related to caregiver status. Conclusions: Findings that socio-environmental factors were more strongly associated with caregiver status than crack use underscore the importance of contextual issues such as housing, victimization history, and resources in serving maternal crack users. Community outreach and interventions that engage mothers who use drugs and live with their children may be more effective strategies than formal office-based services to link mothers who use crack and their children to needed drug treatment and family and child services. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved