Adult attachment and birth experience: importance of a secure base and safe haven during childbirth.
Journal of reproductive and infant psychology
Taylor & Francis
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Reisz, S., Brennan, J., Jacobvitz, D., & George, C. (2019). Adult attachment and birth experience: importance of a secure base and safe haven during childbirth.. Journal of reproductive and infant psychology, 37 (1), 26-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646838.2018.1509303
Objective: To examine connections between mothers’ adult attachment and their subjective birth experience in the context of parity and mode of delivery. Background: The few studies to date on adult attachment representation and birth experience point to a clear connection between these factors. This study extended previous research with an in-depth self-report attachment measure to examine different dimensions of mothers’ attachment representations and its effects on their subjective experience of birth. Mode of delivery and parity both relate to birth experience, so interactions between these factors and adult attachment were also considered. Method: Participants were 257 American mothers who gave birth the prior year. Infant age ranged from 4 days to 12 months. Mothers had a mean age of 30.5 years, 61% were primiparas, and 26% delivered by caesarean. Participants completed an online survey that included the Birth Experience Questionnaire, the Reciprocal Attachment Questionnaire and demographic information. Results: Hierarchical moderated regression analyses showed direct effects from adult attachment to mothers’ subjective birth experiences, specifically the dimensions of perceived availability, feared loss, separation protest, angry withdrawal, and compulsive careseeking. Interactions emerged for parity and/or mode of delivery for overall subjective birth experience, perceived control, perceived social support, and satisfaction with the overall birth. Conclusion: Adult attachment representations are related to mothers’ subjective birth experience. This finding indicates that attachment figures can serve as secure bases and safe havens for mothers during childbirth. These results have implications for practitioners and provide direction for future research.
Humans, Cesarean Section, Regression Analysis, Maternal Behavior, Mothers, Object Attachment, Pregnancy, Labor, Obstetric, Parturition, Social Support, Adult, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Female, Male, Surveys and Questionnaires
This research was supported by a Medical Humanities New Investigator 17 Award from the Wellcome Trust (Grant WT103343MA)
Wellcome Trust (103343/Z/13/A)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02646838.2018.1509303
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/280620