Parent and child co-resident status among an Australian community-based sample of methamphetamine smokers

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Introduction: Children in families where there is substance misuse are at high risk of being removed from their parents' care. This study describes the characteristics of a community sample of parents who primarily smoke methamphetamine and their child or children's residential status. Design and Methods: Baseline data from a prospective study of methamphetamine smokers (‘VMAX’). Participants were recruited via convenience, respondent-driven and snowball sampling. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to estimate associations between parental status; fathers' or mothers' socio-demographic, psychosocial, mental health, alcohol, methamphetamine use dependence, alcohol use and child or children's co-residential status. Results: Of the 744 participants, 394 (53%) reported being parents; 76% (88% of fathers, 57% of mothers) reported no co-resident children. Compared to parents without co-resident children, parents with co-resident children were more likely to have a higher income. Fathers with co-resident children were more likely to be partnered and not to have experienced violence in the previous 6 months. Mothers with co-resident children were less likely to have been homeless recently or to have accessed treatment for methamphetamine use. Discussion and Conclusions: The prevalence of non-co-resident children was much higher than previously reported in studies of parents who use methamphetamine; irrespective of whether in or out of treatment. There is a need for accessible support and services for parents who use methamphetamine; irrespective of their child or children's co-residency status. Research is needed to determine the longitudinal impact of methamphetamine use on parents' and children's wellbeing and to identify how parents with co-resident children (particularly mothers) can be supported.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Sep 2020


  • father or mother
  • substance misuse
  • VMAX

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