Background Preterm birth is a psychologically distressing experience for mothers of Preterm infants and a risk for the early mother - infant relationship.
Aims The aim of this study was to investigate the depressive symptoms and maternal attachment, and role of attachment style in mothers of preterm infants.
Subjects The study group consisted of 75 mothers of Preterm infants and the control group consisted of 75 mothers of full-term healthy infants. Outcome measures: Adult Attachment Scale (AAS) was used to determine the attachment style of the mother. Maternal depressive symptoms were screened by the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS), and maternal attachment was measured by the Maternal Attachment Inventory (MAI). Maternal social support was assessed by using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS).
Results The mean EPDS score and the number of mothers with high depressive scores (EPDS > 12) were significantly higher and maternal attachment scores were lower in mothers of preterm infants than mothers of term infants. Mothers of preterm infants with insecure attachment style had higher EPDS and lower maternal attachment scores.
Conclusions Our findings suggest that postpartum depression and insecure attachment style of mothers may be a risk for maternal attachment in preterm infants’ mothers. It would be important to screen depressive symptoms and detect attachment styles in mothers of preterm infants to offer support in the postpartum period.