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October, 2009
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We examined the impact of drug abuse on prenatal resources (social support and coping strategies) and mental health problems (depressiveness, pregnancy distress and hostility), and analyzed whether they would differently predict postpartum mental health between drug abusing and non-abusing women. Drug abusing (n=44) and comparison (n=50) women participated in the second or third trimester (T1), and reported depressive and anxiety symptoms at four (T2) and 12 (T3) months postpartum. Results showed that drug abusing women had higher levels of prenatal depression, distress and hostility, and lower levels of social support, and coped more by using denial and avoidance and less with cognitive reconstruction than the comparison group. Prediction of prenatal resources and problems was somewhat group-specific: the prenatal depression predicted depressive symptoms, and cognitive constructive coping predicted low anxiety, especially in the drug abusing group. The findings emphasize the need for effective support for adequate coping strategies and early treatment of depression in drug abusing mothers in their transition to motherhood.


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