An examination of the family histories, social support systems, perceived life difficulties and role definitions of grandparents raising grandchildren who were prenatally cocaine exposed

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Keith Scott, Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Liz Rothlein, Committee Member


The purpose of the study was to examine the family histories, social support networks and role perceptions of the primary caregivers of infants and toddlers born prenatally cocaine exposed enrolled in the Linda Ray Intervention Center. Twenty-seven grandmothers were interviewed to determine the presence or absence of intergenerational risk factors. Qualitative, quantitative and demographic data were collected from tape-recorded interviews at the University of Miami early childhood program. Comparisons of the grandmothers and their adult children yield dissimilarities related to drug and alcohol abuse and criminality, number of years of education and incidence of teen motherhood. Patterns for leaving home, number of significant relationships and family size were similar for both groups. Social support measures yielded significant correlations between the number of members in the grandmothers' personal support networks their helplessness, negativity, self-concept and internalizing behaviors. No significant differences were found between the paternal and maternal grandmothers. Role descriptions revealed positive and negative feelings. Results indicate the need for practitioners to use multiple methods and multiple measures to collect data for Family Support Plans and to help make determinations for appropriateness of child custody with grandmothers.


Social Work; Education, Early Childhood; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

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