Mothers and fathers in treatment for methamphetamine addiction—Parenting, parental stress, and children at risk

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Parents addicted to methamphetamine (“crystal meth”) are likely to be impaired in meeting parental responsibilities, and the developmental settings can be highly disadvantageous for children. Therefore, parenting by methamphetamine-addicted mothers and fathers needs further exploration, while considering the impact on children affected by parental substance use. In our study, we analysed parenting practices and parental stress as well as children's behavioural problems using standardized assessments. The sample consisted of 87 methamphetamine-addicted parents in recovery. We obtained data on parents' current substance use and on their psychological distress. Multiple regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of children's overall problems.


Parents reported high levels of parental and psychological distress, even after achieving abstinence. Especially depressive perceptions of parenthood appeared problematic. While recovering from methamphetamine addiction, parents exhibited a precarious psychosocial situation and problematic parenting behaviour. Dysfunctional parenting practices were evident in both indifferent and overreactive tendencies. Children were at risk of behavioural and emotional problems. Variables associated with parenting showed significant predictive value for children's overall problems, beyond current substance use, and psychological distress. These findings are discussed in terms of a family-oriented perspective in order to promote parenting capabilities of methamphetamine-addicted parents and to prevent problematic development of their children.

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