Prenatal depression predicts postpartum maternal attachment in low-income Latina mothers with infants

Deborah F. Perry, Anna K. Ettinger, Tamar Mendelson, Huynh Nhu Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Although maternal attachment is an important predictor of infant attachment security and other developmental outcomes, little is known about the formation of maternal attachment in the first few months of the infant's life, particularly among ethnic minority mothers. The current study examined the predictors of postpartum maternal attachment in a sample of 217 Latina women enrolled in a perinatal depression prevention trial. Mothers' attachment to their infants was measured at 6-8 weeks postpartum using the Maternal Postnatal Attachment Scale. A variety of predictors of early attachment were explored including: depressive symptoms during pregnancy, pregnancy intention, feelings about the pregnancy, and the quality of the partner relationship. The strongest predictor of lower maternal attachment was depressive symptoms late in pregnancy; pregnancy intention was marginally predictive of attachment, with lower scores being associated with unwanted pregnancies. The study fills a critical gap in our understanding of the role of depressive symptoms during pregnancy in shaping mothers' early attachment to their infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-350
Number of pages12
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Attachment
  • Latina immigrants
  • Perinatal depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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