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Although it is well documented that maternal substance abuse has a negative effect on the mother–child interaction, less is known about the pathways through which the interaction is compromised. The main objective of this research proposal is to describe an ongoing research project that focuses on associations between maternal executive function and the quality of mother–infant interaction when the mother has a history of substance abuse. We will also investigate the effects of multiple variables, including maternal relationship experiences, personality disposition, parental stress, comorbid mental illness, and addiction severity, on the dyadic interaction and child functioning. A group of 40–50 mothers with substance abuse problems and their infants aged 6–18 months will be included. The mothers will be assessed with neuropsychological tests, clinical interviews, self-administered questionnaires, and dyadic interaction observations as well as observation and assessment of child functioning. We will use a cross-sectional correlational design. The inclusion of the participants will end in October 2015. Further knowledge about the variables that are important for the mother–infant relationship can inform future research and clinical practice.
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