Single Motherhood, Alcohol Dependence, and Smoking During Pregnancy: A Propensity Score Analysis

Objective: Few studies linking single motherhood and maternal smoking during pregnancy consider correlated risk from problem substance use beyond history of smoking and concurrent use of alcohol. In the present study, we used propensity score methods to examine whether the risk of smoking during pregnancy associated with single motherhood is the result of potential confounders, including alcohol dependence. Method: Data were drawn from mothers participating in a birth cohort study of their female like-sex twin offspring (n = 257 African ancestry; n = 1,711 European or other ancestry). We conducted standard logistic regression models predicting smoking during pregnancy from single motherhood at twins’ birth, followed by propensity score analyses comparing single-mother and two-parent families stratified by predicted probability of single motherhood. Results: In standard models, single motherhood predicted increased risk of smoking during pregnancy in European ancestry but not African ancestry families. In propensity score analyses, rates of smoking during pregnancy were elevated in single-mother relative to two-parent European ancestry families across much of the spectrum a priori risk of single motherhood. Among African ancestry families, within-strata comparisons of smoking during pregnancy by single-mother status were nonsignificant. Conclusions: These findings highlight single motherhood as a unique risk factor for smoking during pregnancy in European ancestry mothers, over and above alcohol dependence. Additional research is needed to identify risks, beyond single motherhood, associated with smoking during pregnancy in African ancestry mothers.

Publication Date:
Sep 20 2017
Date Submitted:
Mar 04 2019
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78, 5
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 Record created 2019-03-04, last modified 2019-04-03

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