Assessing maternal perceptions of harmful effects of drug use during pregnancy
Research has shown that perceived risk is an important predictor of health behavior change. In turn, drug use risk education is a vital component of many health campaigns. In pregnant women, perceived risk studies have focused primarily on alcohol and tobacco use. Little is known about perceived risks associated with prenatal exposure to illicit drugs. The present study compared drug use attitude (DUA) in both treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking drug-using pregnant women as well as a comparison group of non-drug-using pregnant women. The results suggest that non-treatment-seekers are less knowledgeable about specific potential risks of perinatal substance use. In addition, compared to treatment seekers and non-users, non-treatment-seekers were more likely to endorse cutting down on drug use rather than quitting as a means of reducing harm to the developing child. Results ofthe present study suggest drug-using women may benefit from additional education about harmful effects of drug use.