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Drug Use among Adolescent Mothers: Prepregnancy to 18 Months Postpartum


Gilchrist, Lewayne D.; Hussey, Jon M.; Gillmore, Mary Rogers; Lohr, Mary Jane; & Morrison, Diane (1996). Drug Use among Adolescent Mothers: Prepregnancy to 18 Months Postpartum. Journal of Adolescent Health, 19(5), 337-344.


Purpose: Little is known about the substance use patterns of adolescent mothers, particularly in the postpartum period. This study provides descriptive, longitudinal data on the substance use behavior of a cohort of adolescent mothers.
Methods: A total of 241 pregnant adolescents, under 18 years old and planning to carry the pregnancy to term, completed the initial interview. Respondents were interviewed again at 1, 6, 12, and 18 months postpartum. The data reported here are based on the 229 respondents who completed all five interviews.
Results: Use of all substances decreased substantially during pregnancy, but increased steadily in the first 6 months postpartum. A similar pattern was observed for regular use of multiple substances. Regular use before and after the pregnancy, but not during it, was the most common pattern of substance use.
Conclusions: The prevalence of substance use among adolescent mothers is significant. To capitalize on the large decreases in use during pregnancy, drug prevention programs for adolescent mothers should target the first 6 months postpartum.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Adolescent Health


Gilchrist, Lewayne D.
Hussey, Jon M.
Gillmore, Mary Rogers
Lohr, Mary Jane
Morrison, Diane