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The parent-infant relationship begins during pregnancy and is foundational to the caregiving system that will guide early parenting behaviors. The current study extends prior work focused on the postnatal parenting relationship by examining parental risk and resilience factors on the prenatal parental-fetal bond in a sample of expectant mothers and fathers who reported high levels of exposure to contextual adversity, including poverty and violence.
Data were collected from 51 expectant mothers and the biological fathers as part of a longitudinal study examining the influence of bio-psycho-social factors on early parenting processes beginning in pregnancy. Associations between psychological distress, parental histories of maltreatment exposure, social support, and fathers’ views of the importance of fathering during infancy to the health and wellbeing of the infant, on parental-fetal bonding were examined using multiple linear regression.
For mothers, psychological distress was significantly associated with maternal-fetal bonding. For fathers, history of child maltreatment and views of fathering were significantly associated with bonding.
Findings suggest that interventions to enhance parent-fetal bonding should target separate factors for mothers and fathers.
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- Pathways to Parenting: Predictors of Prenatal Bonding in a Sample of Expectant Mothers and Fathers Exposed to Contextual Risk
Carolyn Joy Dayton
- Springer US