Impacts of Depression and Trauma on Predictors of Future Infant-Caregiver Attachment
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Mother-infant attachment has been linked to important social-emotional outcomes later in life. Disorganized attachment, a style where the caregiver is a source of fear, is particularly detrimental. The current study attempts to determine whether or not depression, childhood trauma, or the interaction of the two are predictive of two scales that in turn predict future attachment. We hypothesized that mothers who have experienced trauma and/or depression would label more infant faces as angry and fewer as sad and would also report more maternal helplessness and fear of their child. A sample of 44 new mothers was surveyed when their infants were 12 and 24 weeks as a part of a longitudinal study. Linear regression analyses revealed that postnatal depression, history of abuse or the interaction of the two were not predictive of maternal endorsements of fewer sad and more angry labels or maternal helplessness or fear. Implications for early identification and prevention of attachment disorganization are discussed.