Association of clinical characteristics and cessation of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use during pregnancy

Am J Addict. Mar-Apr 2011;20(2):143-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2010.00110.x. Epub 2010 Dec 28.


Pregnancy is a time of relative urgency and opportunity for the treatment of substance use disorders in women, yet little is known about modifiable factors that contribute to successful abstinence. We examined self-worth, depression, anxiety, and novelty seeking in the context of substance use cessation during pregnancy in a sample of women with a high prevalence of substance abuse. Subjects were 448 birth mothers who participated in a prospective adoption study. Discontinuation rates were: tobacco 22.2%, alcohol 64.7%, marijuana 77.2%, and other drugs, 73.7-100%. Depression, anxiety, and novelty seeking were lower among women who discontinued substance use, compared to those who did not. Self-worth was higher in women who discontinued substance use. Among 110 polysubstance users, the number of substances discontinued during pregnancy was correlated with depression, anxiety, and self-worth in the hypothesized direction. Possible clinical implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Drug Users / psychology*
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*