The relationship between social support, self-esteem, and maternal-fetal attachment in adolescents



Limited information is available about factors related to prenatal attachment in adolescents. In this study, relationships among self-esteem, social support, and maternal-fetal attachment were examined. A culturally diverse sample of 90 adolescents between 14 and 19 years of age was recruited from two of the three licensed residential maternity homes in Los Angeles County. The four research instruments administered included: a background questionnaire, Coopersmith's Self-Esteem Inventory, Norbeck's Social Support Questionnaire, and Cranley's Maternal-Fetal Attachment Scale. Although nonsignificant correlations were found between total maternal-fetal attachment scores and measures of self-esteem and social support, four key variables were identified through regression analyses. These significant predictors of prenatal attachment were total functional support, total size of network, planning of pregnancy, and intent to keep the infant. Implications for clinical practice are discussed related to these findings.