Maternal substance use and mother-infant feeding interactions

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34 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of maternal polydrug cocaine use during pregnancy and associated risk factors such as maternal psychopathology and negative infant temperament on the quality of mother-infant feeding interactions at 2 months of infant age. Participants were 45 mother-infant dyads (19 cocaine-exposed and 26 nonexposed) who were recruited at birth and assessed again 2 months of infant age. Mother-infant interactions during feeding were videotaped and coded with regard to dyadic reciprocity, maternal noncontingency, and dyadic conflict. Results indicated that maternal cocaine use was associated with higher dyadic conflict. Moreover, cocaine-using mothers were also more likely to use marijuana and alcohol, and use of such substances was associated with lower dyadic reciprocity and higher maternal noncontingency during interactions. Results also suggested that one pathway to higher dyadic conflict during interactions among cocaine-using mothers was through the impact of cocaine on infant risk conditions like lower gestational age and negative temperament (e.g., higher distress to novelty). Interventions focusing on promoting the quality of mother-infant interactions in combination with substance abuse treatment may be especially promising for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-511
Number of pages15
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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