Aims: In this study we examined three parenting dimensions (involvement, autonomy, and limit-setting) and three potential determinants (maternal addiction, low SES and its correlates, and mothers' perceptions of their children's maladjustment) in order to disentangle features of parenting that are uniquely related to maternal addiction from those related to contextual determinants. We also examined conditional effects of low SES and its correlates on parenting.
Design: Based on a literature review and predictions arising from an ecological model of parenting, we expected that maternal addiction would be related with problems in parental involvement, but that the other parenting dimensions would be related with mothers' perceptions of children's maladjustment and low SES. Accordingly, we examined variance in each parenting dimensions accounted for by each of the three determinants, respectively.
Participants: Subjects included 120 (69 opiate-addicted and 51 SES-matched comparison) mothers with children under 16 years of age.
Measurements: Children's maladaptive behavior was assessed with the Behavioral Assessment System for Children, and parental adjustment with the Parent Child Relationship Inventory.
Findings: Direct effect predictions were confirmed and two conditional effects involving single status and family size were also found.
Conclusions: Although many parenting problems have previously been attributed to maternal addiction, only parental involvement is directly related to being an addict; other parenting dimensions may be better explained by contextual factors.