19-03-2022 | ORIGINAL PAPER
How Mindful Awareness and Psychological Distress Influence Mother-Infant Bonding and Maternal Perceptions of Infant Temperament
Gepubliceerd in: Mindfulness | Uitgave 4/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Maternal prenatal depression and anxiety have far-reaching consequences including disruptions to mother-infant bonding and possible impacts on the mother’s perceptions of her infant’s temperament. Emerging evidence suggests that dispositional mindful awareness may attenuate the effects of maternal anxiety and depressive symptoms in the perinatal period, from conception through to 1 year postpartum. This prospective study aimed to assess whether dispositional mindful awareness moderates the influence of prenatal anxiety and depressive symptoms on maternal perceptions of infant temperament and mother-infant bonding.
Across the perinatal period, 149 mothers completed two online surveys assessing: during pregnancy—dispositional mindful awareness, depression, anxiety; and at 3–6 months postpartum—maternal perceptions of infant temperament and the developing mother-infant bond.
Analyses indicated that greater dispositional mindful awareness was negatively associated with prenatal depression and anxiety, and positively associated with the quality of mother-infant bonding, but not perceptions of infant temperament. Mindful awareness moderated the relationship between depressive symptoms and mother-infant bonding. For mothers with lower mindful awareness, the inverse association between depressive symptoms and mother-infant bonding remained strong, yet for mothers with higher mindful awareness, the adverse impact of depressive symptoms on mother-infant bonding was attenuated.
These results highlight the potential importance of developing higher levels of mindful awareness as a protective factor during pregnancy, and particularly for helping mitigate the adverse impact of maternal depression on the mother-infant bonding process.