EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Experiences of Postpartum Women in One Residential Treatment Facility for Substance Use Disorders


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

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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 twenty-two and twenty-seven years, 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 and 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 help to offset this stress. The descriptive-level findings could provide insight to occupational therapy practitioners and other community-based providers about women in substance abuse recovery and their perceptions of the value of programmatic interventions, the meaning of their occupational deficits, and the significance of occupational therapy as treatment to address these deficits.

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International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

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