This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grants F31MH085423 to the first author and R01MH084135, R01MH052135, and R01MH074374 to the second author. We acknowledge the support of the Delaware Division of Family Services and the caseworkers, foster families, and children involved in this project.
Foster Mother–Infant Bonding: Associations Between Foster Mothers' Oxytocin Production, Electrophysiological Brain Activity, Feelings of Commitment, and Caregiving Quality
Article first published online: 19 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 84, Issue 3, pages 826–840, May/June 2013
How to Cite
Bick, J., Dozier, M., Bernard, K., Grasso, D. and Simons, R. (2013), Foster Mother–Infant Bonding: Associations Between Foster Mothers' Oxytocin Production, Electrophysiological Brain Activity, Feelings of Commitment, and Caregiving Quality. Child Development, 84: 826–840. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12008
- Issue published online: 8 MAY 2013
- Article first published online: 19 NOV 2012
- National Institute of Mental Health. Grant Numbers: F31MH085423, R01MH084135, R01MH052135, R01MH074374
- Delaware Division of Family Services
This study examined the biological processes associated with foster mother–infant bonding. In an examination of foster mother–infant dyads (N = 41, mean infant age = 8.5 months), foster mothers' oxytocin production was associated with their expressions of behavioral delight toward their foster infant and their average P3 response to images of all infant faces in the first 2 months of the relationship. Three months later, foster mothers' oxytocin production was still associated with delight toward their foster infant and was also specifically associated with their P3 response to an image of their foster infant. Similar to biologically related mothers and infants, oxytocin appears to be associated with foster mothers' brain activity and caregiving behavior, with patterns suggestive of bond formation.