Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Matern Child Health J. 2008 Jul;12(4):478-87. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Pregnancy wantedness and child attachment security: is there a relationship?

Author information

  • 1Transnational Family Research Institute, 229 Wixon Avenue, Aptos, CA, 95003-4626, USA.



Few studies examine the consequences of unwanted pregnancy on child development, and most of those that do, use measures of pregnancy intention. Here we use measures of pregnancy wantedness, together with measures of maternal motivation, to examine the potential effect of wantedness on the child's attachment relationship with its mother.


Using data collected from 78 primiparous Black women who had applied for an Early Head Start program in a Midwestern city and who had completed a pregnancy acceptance questionnaire, we created four measures: Pregnancy Wantedness, Positive Maternal Motivation, Negative Maternal Motivation, and Social Reinforcement for the pregnancy. Each child had been assessed at about 11 months of age for Difficult Temperament and at about 14 months of age for Attachment Security. We then tested both regression and linear structural equation models in order to predict the child's attachment security with the remaining variables.


Pregnancy Wantedness is predicted with an R (2) of .198 by Negative Maternal Motivation and Social Reinforcement but does not predict Attachment Security, which is predicted with an R (2) of .375 by Positive Maternal Motivation, Negative Maternal Motivation, and Difficult Temperament.


Our analyses indicate that in a multivariate context there is no relationship between the wantedness of a pregnancy and the subsequent attachment security of the child for this sample of low-income Black primiparous mothers. This finding is related to some conceptual and measurement issues of pregnancy wantedness, the irrelevance of some aspects of wantedness to parent-child interaction, and the powerful effect of maternal motivations on child attachment security.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Support Center