The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.
The Role of Mental Health on Maternal-Fetal Attachment in Low-Income Women
Article first published online: 12 JUL 2012
© 2012 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Volume 41, Issue 6, pages E71–E81, November/December 2012
How to Cite
Alhusen, J. L., Gross, D., Hayat, M. J., Rose, L. and Sharps, P. (2012), The Role of Mental Health on Maternal-Fetal Attachment in Low-Income Women. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: E71–E81. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01385.x
- Issue published online: 26 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 12 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: MAR 2012
- National Institutes of Health. Grant Number: T32MH20014-08
- National Institute of Nursing Research. Grant Number: F31NR010957-01A
- National Center for Research Resources. Grant Number: 5KL2RR025006
- maternal-fetal attachment;
- mental health;
- health disparities;
- mixed method
To examine and describe the influence of maternal depressive symptoms on maternal-fetal attachment (MFA) in predominantly low-income women.
Three urban obstetric/gynecologic (OB/GYN) clinics serving predominantly low-income women.
A convenience sample of 166 women participated in the quantitative component and a purposeful subsample of 12 women participated in the qualitative component; all women were between 24 and 28 weeks gestation at the time of data collection.
Linear regression models were used to examine the influence of depressive symptoms and social support on MFA. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted among a subsample of women to explore the influence of maternal depressive symptoms on MFA.
Fifty-nine percent (n = 98) of participants had scores that were clinically significant for depressive symptoms. In the final model of social support and depressive symptoms regressed on MFA, social support (b = .23, 95% CI [0.09, .37], p = .002) and depressive symptoms (b = −1.02, 95% CI [−1.32, −.73], p < 0.001) were significant predictors. This multivariate linear regression model with two variables accounted for 65.2% of the total variance in overall MFA. Qualitative participants discussed the importance of social support in contributing to their mood state and MFA.
Findings from this study highlight the importance of assessing for depressive symptoms during pregnancy given its influence on MFA. By understanding how important it was for these women to have a supportive person to experience their pregnancies with, nurses can improve the pregnancy experience for vulnerable populations.