Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research

Advancing Applied MCH Research

Drug-Abusing Mothers: Infant Massage-Parenting Enhancement

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Project Number: R40 MC 01063-04
Grantee: Florida International University
Department/Center: College of Health and Urban Affairs
Project Date: 09/01/2003

Final Report

Drug-Abusing Mothers: Infant Massage-Parenting Enhancement Final Report (PDF) Exit Disclaimer

Principal Investigator

Luz Sobong Porter, Ph.D.
3000 N.E. 151 Street, ACII-235
North Miami, FL  33181
Phone: (305) 348-7744


  • Women/Maternal
  • Perinatal/Infancy (0-12 months)


  • African American


With 4.6 million women of child-bearing age regularly using cocaine in the United States and 750,000 drug-exposed births annually, maternal substance abuse highlights the multigenerational impact of drug use in high-risk populations and its risks to our children. Adverse effects of perinatal drug use include not only physical and neurological impairment of the neonate, but also the worsened maternal mental health, poor maternal-infant attachment, and limited parenting effectiveness. Interventions that build upon the natural components of early mother-infant interactions are critical to reversing these sequelae and breaking the cycle of addiction. However, despite the incorporation of educational, vocational, and social rehabilitation, as well as parenting classes and day care into drug treatment programs, child abuse, neglect, and physical, mental and emotional deficits remain pervasive in the children of substance-abusing mothers (SAMs). One intervention with documented developmental benefits on high-risk neonates is Infant Massage (IM). The purpose of this randomized, controlled experimental study is to determine the long-term value-added effects of blending Infant Massage (IM) into a systematic Parenting Enhancement Program (PEP) on health outcomes and interaction among SAMs and their babies. The primary goal is to develop an effective IMPEP intervention, grounded in consistent caretaking of these infants by their mothers and a decrease in recidivism among recovering SAMs MCHB Goal #1. Secondary objectives are to test whether the IMPEP improves 1) SAMs' parenting stress, hope, self-esteem, depression, and recidivism (MCHB Issue 8.1.12); as well as 2) infant growth, development, safety, immunization status, and mother-infant interactions (MCHB Issue 3.2.3). The impact of this low-cost intervention on family preservation and health enhancement in high-risk populations will facilitate maternal-child health practitioners, nurse educators, public health professionals, and substance abuse service providers to design client-tailored parenting programs, which utilize IM as both a health promotion and therapeutic intervention.


Listed is descending order by year published.

Porter B, Porter L, McCoy V, Lima M, Pryce C, Nunnewar S. Methodological challenges in intervention studies. Nurse Res. 2009 Jan;16(2):43-63.

Porter LS, Porter BO. A blended infant massage--parenting enhancement program for recovering substance-abusing mothers. Pediatr Nurs. 2004 Sep-Oct;30(5):363-72, 401.


Parenting, Substance Use, Depression, Mental Health & Wellbeing, Stress, Safety & Injury Prevention, Immunization, Parent-Child Relationship

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