Antenatal predictors of maternal bonding for adolescent mothers

Cremona, Simone Elise (2008) Antenatal predictors of maternal bonding for adolescent mothers. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


Research studies have found that pregnant adolescents and adolescent mothers differ from their older counterparts on a number of psychological factors. Differences have been noted in the level of antenatal bonding to the foetus, the presence of depressive and/or anxious symptomatology during the pregnancy, the woman’s own attachment experiences and the amount of social support received. These variables have also been found to influence the development of maternal bonding after the baby is born. The primary aim of this research was to examine these antenatal factors and to assess their relative contribution to maternal bonding at six weeks postpartum. A further aim was to explore how different cultural and religious beliefs held by the adolescent and her family impact on the adolescent. The sample comprised pregnant adolescents aged between 13 and 19 years who attended either the Women’s Clinic at Sunshine Hospital or the Young Mothers’ Clinic at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The participants completed a number of standardised questionnaires during their pregnancy to measure antenatal bonding, retrospective perceptions of their own experiences of being parented by their mother (care and control), depression, anxiety and social support. The adolescents also participated in a semi-structured interview regarding religious and cultural beliefs. At six weeks and three months postpartum the adolescents completed another set of questionnaires to measure postnatal bonding, depression and anxiety. The proposed model to predict post-natal bonding was tested using hierarchical multiple regression. Results of the multivariate analyses indicated that the proposed regression model did not fit the data. Antenatal bonding was the only antenatal factor that was significantly related to postnatal bonding at six weeks. There were other significant correlations noted among the antenatal factors of care, control, depression, anxiety and social support received, but none of these appeared to be significantly related to postnatal bonding in this sample. However, strong relationships were noted between all postnatal factors (postnatal bonding, postnatal anxiety and postnatal depression) at both six weeks and three months postpartum. Information from the interviews on the influence of cultural and religious beliefs was presented and case studies were provided to highlight some of the experiences of these young women. The results of this research were compared and contrasted to the limited number of previous studies that have been carried out in the area. The lack of support for some hypotheses was discussed in the context of the limitations of the study. Other hypotheses were generated and discussed with recommendations made for future research.

Additional Information

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 380000 Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords maternal bonding, antenatal predictors, adolescent mothers
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