Development and Psychopathology



Multiple jeopardy: Risk and protective factors among addicted mothers' offspring


SUNIYA S. LUTHAR a1c1, GRETTA CUSHING a2, KATHLEEN R. MERIKANGAS a3 and BRUCE J. ROUNSAVILLE a3
a1 Teachers College, Columbia University
a2 University of Utah
a3 Yale University

Abstract

Objectives of this study were to ascertain risk and protective factors in the adjustment of 78 school-age and teenage offspring of opioid- and cocaine-abusing mothers. Using a multimethod, multiinformant approach, child outcomes were operationalized via lifetime psychiatric diagnoses and everyday social competence (each based on both mother and child reports), and dimensional assessments of symptoms (mother report). Risk/protective factors examined included the child sociodemographic attributes of gender, age, and ethnicity, aspects of maternal psychopathology, and both mother's and children's cognitive functioning. Results revealed that greater child maladjustment was linked with increasing age, Caucasian (as opposed to African American) ethnicity, severity of maternal psychiatric disturbance, higher maternal cognitive abilities (among African Americans) and lower child cognitive abilities (among Caucasians). Limitations of the study are discussed, as are implications of findings for future research.


Correspondence:
c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Suniya S. Luthar, Department of Human Development, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Box 133, New York, NY 10027.