The British Journal of Psychiatry
Maternal attachment style and depression associated with childbirth: preliminary results from a European and US cross-cultural study
Antonia Bifulco, Barbara Figueiredo, Nicole Guedeney, Laura L. Gorman, Sandra Hayes, Maria Muzik, Elisabeth Glatigny-Dallay, Vania Valoriani, Martin H. Kammerer, Carol A. Henshaw


Background Insecure attachment style relates to major depression in women, but its relationship to depression associated with childbirth is largely unknown. A new UK-designed measure, the Attachment Style Interview (ASI), has potential for cross-cultural use as a risk marker for maternal disorder.

Aims To establish there liability of the ASI across centres, its stability over a 9-month period, and its associations with social context and major or minor depression.

Method The ASI was used by nine centres antenatally on 204 women, with 174 followed up 6 months postnatally. Interrater reliability was tested and the ASI was repeated on a subset of 96 women. Affective disorder was assessed by means of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM–IV.

Results Satisfactory interrater reliability was achieved with relatively high stability rates at follow-up. Insecure attachment related to lower social class position and more negative social context. Specific associations of avoidant attachment style (angry–dismissive or withdrawn) with antenatal disorder, and anxious style (enmeshed or fearful) with postnatal disorder were found.

Conclusions The ASI can be used reliably in European and US centres as a measure for risk associated with childbirth. Its use will contribute to the oretically under pinned preventive action for disorders associated with childbirth.

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