Maternal representations of attachment moderate the relationship between postnatal depression and the parent-child attachment relationship

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Abstract

0ne hundred and twelve mothers who partici- pated in a prospective study of postnatal depression and child development participated in the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI, George et al., 1985) when their children were 12 months of age. The quality of the attachment relationship was assessed when infants were 15 months using the Strange Situation Procedure (Ainsworth & Wittig, 1969). Relations between depression and the attachment measures were assessed with a focus on depression chronicity. Mothers with postnatal depression (brief or chronic) were significantly more likely to have an insecure state of mind with respect to attachment (ps < .05). Infants of chronically depressed (but not briefly depressed) mothers were significantly more likely to be insecurely attached (p < .05). However, there was a significant interaction between maternal depression and attachment state of mind in predicting child attachment security. A secure state of mind with respect to attachment was a protective factor for child attachment, even for those mothers who experienced chronic depression. Findings are discussed with respect to the diverse research findings regarding relations between maternal depression and attachment and the need to identify factors other than depression that act as risk or protective factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-206
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Volume56
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
EventConference of the Australian Psychological Society (39th : 2004) - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 28 Sep 20043 Oct 2004

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