Cultural and Social Predictors of Substance Abuse Recovery among American Indian and Non-American Indian Pregnant and Parenting Women

Hayley McCarron, Emily R. Griese, Elizabeth Dippel, Tracey R. McMahon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Substance abuse is especially undesirable among pregnant or parenting women (PPW). As such, there is a need to examine the factors impacting positive treatment outcomes, particularly among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) PPW, as they are seeking substance abuse treatment at rates considerably higher than the national average. This study aimed to identify the social and cultural mechanisms that support their recovery. Qualitative analyses were used to identify mechanisms used by AI and non-AI PPW in their recovery. Several differences between AI and non-AI PPW emerged. AI participants mentioned their families more often as the reason why they wanted to become or stay sober. In addition to familial support, AI participants relied on a variety of other sources for assistance in their recovery. Many of the women had difficulty defining specific aspects of their culture, especially in relation to their recovery. However, for AI PPW, many aspects of AI culture were identified as they described their recovery, suggesting the often subtle ways culture can impact everyday life. Our findings indicated that women utilized cultural supports in different ways; therefore, it is necessary to help them define their culture in ways that are meaningful in their recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-330
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2018



  • American Indian
  • pregnant or parenting women
  • residential treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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