Document Type



Educational Leadership

First Advisor's Name

Tonette S. Rocco

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Thomas G. Reio

Third Advisor's Name

Delia C. Garcia

Fourth Advisor's Name

Luz S. Porter


Illicit drugs, substance ause, mothers, rehabilitation, infant massage, peer teaching

Date of Defense



Approximately 200 million people, 5% aged 15-64 worldwide are illicit drug or substance abusers (World Drug Report, 2006). Between 2002 and 2005, an average of 8.2% of 12 year olds and older in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale metropolitan areas used illicit drugs (SAMHSA, 2007). Eight percent of pregnant women, aged 15 to 25, were more likely to have used illicit drugs during pregnancy than pregnant women aged 26 to 44. Alcohol use was 9.8% and cigarette use was 18% for pregnant women aged 15 to 44 (SAMHSA, 2005). Approximately a quarter of annual birth defects are attributed to the exposure of drugs or substance abuse in utero (General Accounting Office, 1991). Physical, psychological and emotional challenges may be present for the illicit drug/substance abuse (ID/SA) mother and infant placing them at a disadvantage early in their relationship (Shonkoff & Marshall, 1990). Mothers with low self efficacy have insecurely attached infants (Donovan, Leavitt, & Walsh, 1987). As the ID/SA mother struggles with wanting to be a good parent, education is needed to help her care for her infant. In this experimental study residential rehabilitating ID/SA mothers peer taught infant massage. Massage builds bonding/attachment between mother and infant (Reese & Storm, 2008) and peer teaching is effective because participants have faced similar challenges and speak the same language (Boud, Cohen, & Sampson 2001). Quantitative data were collected using the General Self-Efficacy and Maternal Attachment Inventory-Revised Scale before and after the 4-week intervention program. A reported result of this study was that empowering ID/SA mothers increased their self-efficacy, which in turn allowed the mothers to tackle challenges encountered and created feelings of being a fit mother to their infants. This research contributes to the existing database promoting evidence-based practice in drug rehabilitation centers. Healthcare personnel, such as nurse educators and maternal-child health practitioners, can develop programs in drug rehabilitation centers that cultivate an environment where the ID/SA rehabilitating mothers can peer teach each other, while creating a support system. Using infant massage as a therapeutic tool can develop a healthy infant and nurture a more positive relationship between mother and infant.





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