POSTPARTUM BONDING DIFFICULTIES AND ADULT ATTACHMENT STYLES: THE MEDIATING ROLE OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION AND CHILDBIRTH-RELATED PTSD

Ilana S. Hairston, Jonathan E. Handelzalts, Chen Assis, Michal Kovo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite decades of research demonstrating the role of adult attachment styles and early mother–infant bonding in parenting behaviors and maternal mental health, these constructs have seldom been studied together. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between attachment styles and specific bonding difficulties of mothers. In addition, as postpartum depression and childbirth-related posttraumatic stress symptoms have been associated with both constructs, we explored their possible mediation effect. One hundred fourteen mothers, 4 to 12 weeks’ postpartum, completed a demographic questionnaire, the Adult Attachment Style Questionnaire (M. Mikulincer, V. Florian, & A. Tolmacz, 1990), the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire (L.F. Brockington, C. Fraser, & D. Wilson, 2006), the Modified Perinatal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Questionnaire (J.L. Callahan, S.E. Borja, & M.T. Hynan, 2006), and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (J.L. Cox, G. Chapman, D. Murray, & P. Jones, 1996), using an online survey system. As predicted, insecure attachment styles were associated with bonding difficulties wherein anxious/ambivalent attachment was associated with greater infant-focused anxiety, mediated by postpartum depression but not childbirth-related PTSD symptoms. In contrast, greater avoidant attachment style was associated with greater rejection and anger, mediated by childbirth-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but not depression symptoms. The current study confirmed the association of different attachment styles with bonding as well as the mediating roles of childbirth-related PTSD and postpartum depression symptoms. Future psychological interventions may utilize such evidence to target interventions for bonding disorders in accordance with individual differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-208
Number of pages11
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health

Keywords

  • Bindung
  • Bonding
  • PTSD relacionado con dar a luz
  • TSPT lié à l'accouchement
  • afectividad
  • attachement
  • attachment
  • bonding
  • childbirth-related PTSD
  • depresión posterior al parto
  • dépression postpartum
  • geburtsbedingte PTBS
  • lien affectif
  • postpartale Depression
  • postpartum depression
  • unión afectiva

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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