Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Shayna D. Cunningham


Background: Substance use during pregnancy can have numerous detrimental effects on maternal and infant health. This knowledge contributes to high rates of abstinence during pregnancy, but pregnant women with substance use disorders are at high risk for relapse postpartum. Experiences of violence can have a substantial impact on the behavioral and mental health of women; its compounded consequences with those of substance use can lead to a population vulnerable to drug relapse and other negative health effects. The objective of this study was to examine the association between experiences of violence and drug abstinence at delivery and postpartum.

Methods: Data were collected as part of a longitudinal randomized control trial observing the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on maternal outcomes among pregnant women with substance use disorder. Pregnant women (n=152) were recruited from Yale New Haven Hospital and Bridgeport hospital between 2006 and 2012 and completed surveys at intake and 3 months postpartum. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between experiences of violence, sociodemographic characteristics, and rates of abstinence at delivery and at 3 months postpartum.

Results: Of the 152 total participants, approximately 84% achieved abstinence at delivery and 24% achieved abstinence at 3 months postpartum. Black participants had significantly lower odds than white participants of achieving abstinence at delivery (OR: 0.33, CI: 0.09, 1.21) and 3 months postpartum (OR: 0.34, CI: 0.09, 1.27). Having ever experienced violence was not associated with drug abstinence at either time point assessed.

Conclusion: Drug abstinence during pregnancy and postpartum is a crucial indicator of maternal, fetal, and infant health. Further research is warranted to identify key factors that can contribute to prolonged drug abstinence among pregnant women and new mothers in order to tailor effective intervention efforts toward continuous abstinence for this population.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access