Effects of maternal depressive symptomatology during pregnancy and the postpartum period on infant–mother attachment

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Aim:Postnatal depression has demonstrated long-term consequences on child cognitive and emotional development; however, the link between maternal and child pathology has not been clearly identified. We conducted a prospective study using self-rating questionnaires to clarify the association between bonding disorder and maternal mood during pregnancy and after childbirth.Methods:A total of 389 women participated in this study and completed questionnaires. Participants were asked to complete the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Mother-to-Infant Bonding Scale four times during pregnancy and the postpartum period.Results:We found statistically significant weak to moderate correlations (r = 0.14–0.39) between the EPDS and Mother-to-Infant Bonding Scale scores at each testing period. Women who experienced low mood tended to have stronger bonding disorder. Furthermore, the effectiveness of attachment between the mother and child was closely related to the mood of the mother as measured by the EPDS.Conclusion:We observed different patterns of bonding and maternal mood. Distinct subtypes regarding maternal mood and formation of mother-to-infant attachment suggests that analysis of bonding disorder should be performed considering the course of maternal depressive symptoms.

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