Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Christine Privott

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Second Advisor

Renee Causey-Upton

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Third Advisor

Robert J. Mullaney

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


A growing opioid crisis in the United States has sparked a need for gender-specific research and treatment to address unmet needs and promote positive health outcomes for both women and children. The primary purpose of this research is to provide insight into the experiences and perceptions of postpartum women with substance use disorders receiving care at one residential treatment facility. Two women, aged 22 and 27 years old, participated in semi-structured interviews designed to elicit perceptions about barriers to treatment, the value of various programs, the role of physical, social, and temporal contexts in treatment, and beliefs about the effect of treatment on quality of life. Interview transcripts were analyzed using a-priori coding with codes derived from the Social Stress Model of Substance Abuse. The pilot findings suggest that for these women separation from children during treatment is experienced as a major stressor, communication, counseling, and program staff and peer resources helps to offset this stress. The descriptive - level findings could provide insight to occupational therapy practitioners and other providers about women in substance abuse recovery and their perceptions of the value of programmatic interventions, meaning of their occupational deficits, and significance of occupational therapy as treatment to address these deficits.