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.
Infant Mental Health Journal – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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