Importance of Social Support in Preventing Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies with American Indians

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Abstract: Recent research concludes that prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEP) must occur with preconceptional women, either by reducing alcohol consumption in women at-risk or planning pregnancy or preventing pregnancy in women drinking at risky levels. One AEP prevention program currently underway with non-pregnant American Indian women is the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) Changing High-risk alcohOl use and Increasing Contraception Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) Program. The OST CHOICES Program shows promise in lowering the AEP risk in American Indian women, and it is a natural next step to evaluate the potential impact that social support can have on further encouraging behavioral changes. Focus groups with community members and key informant interviews with health and social service professionals were completed. To uncover and interpret interrelated themes, a conventional content analysis methodology was used. Eight focus groups were held with 58 American Indian participants, including adult women of child-bearing age, elder women, and adult men. Key informant interviews were completed with 25 health and social service professionals. Based on input from the focus groups and key informant interviews, several subthemes regarding social support in the prevention of AEP stood out, including the role of family (especially elders), the impact community can have, and the important function of culture. In this study, we highlighted the important influence that social support can have on AEP prevention, especially among the American Indian population, where social support has cultural and historical significance.

Related Topics

  • Cultural Competency/Adaptations
  • Behavioral Health
  • Peer-Based Recovery Support
  • Treatment Models