Determinants of child attachment in the years postpartum in a high-risk sample of immigrant women

Lecompte, V.; Rousseau, C. (2017)

Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (JOIH)

20(5) | 1166-1172

Our goal was to examine maternal mental health and associated stresses in a sample of high-risk immigrant mothers, and its association with child insecure attachment in the years following childbirth. Mothers and their child (Mage = 37 months) were recruited through a Health and Social Service organization in the Parc-Extension neighborhood in Montreal, Quebec. Mothers completed the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (HSCL-25), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MPSS) and a sociodemographic questionnaire that included questions on premature delivery and birth weight. Attachment behaviors were coded out of a videotaped free play sequence using the Preschool and Early School-Age Attachment Rating Scales (PARS). Analysis revealed high levels of clinical anxiety and depression, low social support and low attachment security. Significant mean differences and associations were found between anxiety, depression, social support, preterm delivery and child attachment. These results underscore the importance of screening for anxiety and depression early in the postnatal years, in order to prevent associated consequences such as child insecure attachment. Results also highlight the importance of building positive social networks, especially with immigrant populations.