BACKGROUND: A number of complex factors contribute to pregnant and parenting women's alcohol and substance use. To date, little research has focused on the implications, meaning and experiences of father involvement on mothers with substance use problems.
OBJECTIVE: The current study explores the experiences of mothers with substance use problems with respect to the role, impact and meaning of father involvement.
METHODS: This study conducted two focus groups utilizing a phenomenological approach. Mothers receiving clinical services at a comprehensive, community based program serving pregnant and parenting women with substance use problems were recruited to participate in this research.
RESULTS: The meaning of father involvement among this group of women centered on four dimensions: emotional support, financial contributions to the family, amount and quality of time spent with the children and the family, and was dependent upon the particular expectations of the mother involved. Barriers and influences of father involvement were identified. The nature of father involvement had negative and positive impacts on participants.
DISCUSSION: Maternal use of alcohol is a complex issue, one factor often ignored in father involvement. For mothers with substance use problems father involvement has a number of implications, both positive and negative.
Key Words: Mothers, alcohol use, substance abuse, father involvement