Perinatal substance use, residential instability, and negative behavioral outcomes among adolescents: Lessons from the maternal lifestyle study

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Abstract

Problem:

Both housing instability and prenatal substance use are known risk factors for behavioral problems among adolescents.

Methods:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between residential instability (residential mobility and homelessness) and delinquent behaviors among adolescents enrolled in the maternal lifestyle study (MLS), a 16-year research study that explored short-term and long-term effects of in-utero exposure to cocaine and/or opiates (N = 736). Logistic regression was used to measure the association between housing problems with youth crimes, school delinquency, and substance use at 11, 15, and 16 years of age.

Findings:

Both high-frequency residential mobility and homelessness were associated with deviant behaviors across the entire sample of children born with in-utero cocaine/opiate exposure and those without.

Conclusions:

Psychiatric nursing care of youth should include a comprehensive assessment of residential instability to identify risk and target potential interventions.

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