Intergenerational transmission of trauma: Exploring mother–infant prenatal attachment

Authors

  • Kami L. Schwerdtfeger,

    1. Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Department of Applied Professional Studies, Texas Tech University
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  • Briana S. Nelson Goff

    Corresponding author
    1. Marriage and Family Therapy Program, School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
    • Marriage and Family Therapy Program, School of Family Studies and Human Services, 238 Campus Creek Complex, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-1403
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Abstract

Early childhood attachment and bonding and the intergenerational transmission of trauma are two key areas to address to understand the connection between parental trauma and the parent–child relationship. The purpose of the current study was to explore the relationship between trauma and past parental attachment behaviors of 41 expectant mothers and the subsequent development of attachment and bonding with their unborn child. Results of the current study suggest that trauma history, in general, does not negatively impact expectant mothers' current prenatal attachment with their unborn child. However, interpersonal trauma history does appear to have negative effects on prenatal attachment. These results point to the importance of understanding the role of interpersonal trauma exposure on prenatal attachment.

Ancillary