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Infant Behav Dev. 2019 Jan 15;54:99-107. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.01.001. [Epub ahead of print]

An examination of the impact of maternal fetal attachment, postpartum depressive symptoms and parenting stress on maternal sensitivity.

Author information

1
Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States.
3
Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States; Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States; Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, United States. Electronic address: megan.smith@yale.edu.

Abstract

The current study aimed to examine the impact of maternal depression, maternal fetal attachment (MFA) and parenting stress on maternal sensitivity, intrusiveness and positive regard for the child with a sample of 36 low-income, mothers-infant dyads that were followed from pregnancy through the first year postpartum. Maternal depression and parenting stress were expected to have a negative impact on maternal sensitivity, intrusiveness and positive regard, while high MFA was hypothesized to have a positive impact on these three outcomes. Our data provide partial support for our hypotheses. Findings from this study add to the literature by examining the stability of the maternal prenatal and postpartum bond with her infant as well as by looking at the impact of parenting stress on maternal behaviors and processes that may lead to later attachment security differences, such as maternal sensitivity and responsiveness.

KEYWORDS:

Depression; Infant; Maternal fetal attachment; Maternal sensitivity; Parenting stress

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