Maternal bonding is key for infant development and well-being. Research to date focused on prenatal bonding experience, with fewer studies looking at the postnatal period. Moreover, evidence suggests significant associations among maternal bonding, maternal mental health, and infant temperament. The joint impact of maternal mental health and infant temperament on maternal postnatal bonding remains unclear, with limited research reporting longitudinal data. Hence, the present study aims (1) to explore the impact of maternal mental health and infant temperament on postnatal bonding at both 3 and 6 months of age, (2) to explore postnatal bonding stability from 3 to 6 months, and (3) to determine which factors are linked with 3-to-6-month changes in bonding. At the infants' 3 months (n = 261) and 6 months of age (n = 217), mothers provided measures of bonding, depressive and anxious symptoms, and infant temperament via validated questionnaires. At 3 months, higher levels of maternal bonding were predicted by lower levels of anxiety and depression in the mothers and by higher infants' regulation scores. At 6 months, lower levels of anxiety and depression predicted higher levels of bonding. Moreover, mothers showing decreases in bonding were characterized by 3-to-6-month increases in depression and anxiety, as well as increased reported difficulties in regulation dimensions of infant temperament. This study highlights the impact of both maternal mental health and infant temperament on maternal postnatal bonding in a longitudinal sample and could offer useful information for early childhood prevention and care.

Stability of maternal postnatal bonding between 3 and 6 months: Associations with maternal mental health and infant temperament

Anceresi G.;Grumi S.;Provenzi L.
2023-01-01

Abstract

Maternal bonding is key for infant development and well-being. Research to date focused on prenatal bonding experience, with fewer studies looking at the postnatal period. Moreover, evidence suggests significant associations among maternal bonding, maternal mental health, and infant temperament. The joint impact of maternal mental health and infant temperament on maternal postnatal bonding remains unclear, with limited research reporting longitudinal data. Hence, the present study aims (1) to explore the impact of maternal mental health and infant temperament on postnatal bonding at both 3 and 6 months of age, (2) to explore postnatal bonding stability from 3 to 6 months, and (3) to determine which factors are linked with 3-to-6-month changes in bonding. At the infants' 3 months (n = 261) and 6 months of age (n = 217), mothers provided measures of bonding, depressive and anxious symptoms, and infant temperament via validated questionnaires. At 3 months, higher levels of maternal bonding were predicted by lower levels of anxiety and depression in the mothers and by higher infants' regulation scores. At 6 months, lower levels of anxiety and depression predicted higher levels of bonding. Moreover, mothers showing decreases in bonding were characterized by 3-to-6-month increases in depression and anxiety, as well as increased reported difficulties in regulation dimensions of infant temperament. This study highlights the impact of both maternal mental health and infant temperament on maternal postnatal bonding in a longitudinal sample and could offer useful information for early childhood prevention and care.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1483045
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