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Young Women and Substance Use during Pregnancy: The Role of Social Support

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionGatny, Heather, Jennifer S. Barber, and Yasamin Kusunoki. 2013. "Young Women and Substance Use during Pregnancy: The Role of Social Support." PSC Research Report No. 13-788. April 2013.

We investigate the relationship between social support and substance use during pregnancy. Data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study allow us to examine weekly survey measures of social support and substance use collected throughout the pregnancies of a population-based sample of young women (n=187 women; n=2,145 observations). We use these data to determine whether social support from the father of the pregnancy, family, and friends are independently associated with alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use during pregnancy. We also investigate the importance of multiple dimensions of social support and the size of social support networks. Our results suggest that pregnant women are less likely to use alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes during periods when they have any social support from family and when their family support network is larger. A particularly strong and consistent predictor of substance use is having a family member to talk to about the pregnancy.

Country of focus: United States.

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