|Abstract: ||Mothers and fathers interact differently with the developing fetus but evidence for these differences is contradictory (Ustunsoz et al, 2010). It’s important to recognise the factors influencing Parental Fetal Attachment because of the effects on the development of the infant.
We aimed to shed light on the role of key individual and relational variables on the development of maternal (MFA) compared to paternal fetal-attachment (PFA).
80 couples (16-37 weeks of gestation) participated in the study: 97.5% common-law spouses/married; 89% expecting their first child. The average age was: 34,54 years (SD=4.36) for women, 36.78 years (SD=4.95) for men. Each partner completed a battery comprising socio-demographic information and measures of prenatal attachment (MAAS/ PAAS, Condon, 1993; PAI, Müller, 1993), romantic attachment (ECR–R, Fraley et al, 2000), dyadic adjustment (DAS, Spanier, 1976), parental caregiving (PBI, Parker et al, 1979), social support (MSPSS, Zimet et al, 1988).
MFA>PFA (t=4.46, df=153, p=.00). Nulliparous women scored significantly higher (F=5.22, p=.02) than multiparous counterparts in prenatal attachment. MFA and PFA scores decreased with increasing age of expecting parents (r=-.27 and r=-.30; p<.05, respectively). PFA increased with increasing of care in paternal caregiving style (r=.25; p=.05) and dyadic adjustment (r=.35; p=.01), while decreased with increasing attachment-related avoidance (r=-.24; p=.05). MFA increased with increasing of social support (r=.35; p=.01). Romantic attachment style influenced dyadic adjustment for both women and men: the DAS scores of Secure individuals were significantly higher than those of Insicure individuals (women: t=2.16, df=74, p=.03; men: t=3.81, df=74, p=.00).
These results emphasise the importance of evaluating the pregnant woman and her partner together when assessing attachment to the fetus for the psychosocial development of the child and to increase the harmony of the couple.|