Demographic and psychosocial correlates of illicit drug use in pregnancy: a mixed methods study
Merrill, Lisa Dawn
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The purpose of this mixed methods study was to identify demographic and psychosocial correlates of illicit drug use among pregnant women and to explore the life experiences and circumstances that contribute to women’s use of illicit drugs during pregnancy. A sequential explanatory mixed-methods design consisting of quantitative and qualitative components was used. The results of the quantitative component found that women who are depressed, of First Nations ethnicity, drink alcohol during pregnancy, smoke during pregnancy, and have low self-esteem are more likely to use illicit drugs during pregnancy. The qualitative component of the study identified four themes that impacted women’s use of illicit drugs during pregnancy. These included: (1) living a chaotic life as a child, (2) complicated life circumstances, (3) social support system, and (4) the road to recovery. The information gathered during this study will inform practice and policy and may guide future research in this area.