Award Date

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Brad Donohue

Second Committee Member

Jason M. Holland

Third Committee Member

Daniel N. Allen

Fourth Committee Member

Ramona W. Denby-Brinson

Number of Pages



Child neglect is a prevalent problem and often co-occurs with parental substance abuse. Mothers are most often the perpetrators of child neglect. The currently available treatment programs appear to be failing to meet the needs of these mothers. Most mothers are not completing treatment, putting them at risk of losing custody of their children. The literature suggests that women may have different risk factors associated with their substance use, as compared to men. Social networks appear to play a particularly important role in the maintenance of women’s substance abuse problems. The role of social networks may be distinct for different ethnic groups. Certain types of significant others may be more support than others. The present study specifically examined the role of supportive others in the treatment sessions of mothers referred for evidence-based treatment of substance abuse and child neglect. Factor analysis was used to create a scale to reliably assess the relationship between the participation of supportive others in mothers’ treatment and the treatment outcomes of mothers. Higher levels of support from others in treatment were associated with less drug use and lower child abuse potential post treatment, particularly among non-Caucasian mothers. Romantic partners were the most common type of significant other, but parents were rated as the most supportive type of significant other. The generalizability and utility of this measure is discussed in light of these findings. Finally, ideas for future research are recommended.


child maltreatment; low income; social support; treatment outcomes; women


Gender and Sexuality | Mental and Social Health | Psychology | Women's Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit