Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Rosanna DeMarco

Second Advisor

Lisa Heelan-Fancher

Third Advisor

Ling Shi


If you are a mother who has an opioid use disorder in pregnancy, treatment to support recovery after giving birth to a child in their first year of life is challenging. Struggling with negative emotions, perceptions and experiences related to opioid use, can yield experiences that trigger reuse and possible challenges to sustain not only recovery but also positive care of oneself and one’s child. Knowing how a mother successfully functions during the first year postpartum is a significant area of exploration since treatment support depends on understanding what helps maternal functioning and what impedes maternal functioning toward the mutual outcomes of maternal and child health.

Using Roger’s Science of Unitary Human Beings (SUHB) conceptual model, women in treatment to support recovery from an opioid use disorder in their first postpartum year were studied using a cross-sectional, descriptive correlational design examining the relationship between healthiness, stigma, and social support to maternal functioning.

Over the course of a five-month period in 2020 (N = 144), mothers in recovery were recruited through social media platforms, domestic violence shelters, and recovery centers. Bivariate and multiple linear regression was conducted to ascertain the relationship between and among sociodemographic variables, healthiness, stigma, and social support to maternal functioning.

The bivariate analysis revealed positive relationships between maternal functioning and perceived healthiness (r = .822, p < .01) and social support (r = .684, p < .01). An inverse relationship was found between perceived stigma and maternal functioning (r = -.366, p < .01). The multivariate analysis revealed independent associations between healthiness, stigma, and social support with maternal functioning. The R2 indicated that collectively the three independent variables in this sample accounted for 70% of the variance of maternal functioning. However, healthiness was found to have the most impact in explaining perceptions of maternal functioning as evidenced by the standardized Beta (.65).

The findings from this study interpreted within the framework of a holistic worldview (SUHB) show there is a significant relationship among healthiness and social support to maternal functioning. Implications for future research should include longitudinal studies to explore how maternal functioning across the lifespan among mothers in treatment to support recovery ultimately impacts maternal, child, and family health.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Dissertation is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this dissertation through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.