Publication details

Pregnant women’s "attachment" to their unborn baby: Are pregnant women likely to be attached to their unborn baby when they are more threatened?

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Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description The activation of attachment behavior toward preferred attachment figures appears throughout entire life. Children and adults particularly activate their attachment behavior during threatening situations, for example, when they feel tired, ill, or separated from attachment figures (Ainsworth, 1982; Bowlby, 1969/1982). As people grow up, preferred attachment figures typically transfer from parents to peers (Fraley & Davis, 1997; Hazan & Zeifman, 1994), and the most commonly reported attachment figure in adulthood is romantic partners (Doherty & Feeney, 2004). However, some pregnant women may be also attached to their unborn baby because they often feel a threat due to their potential risks connected with their oncoming childbirth. We developed this idea because people seem to develop their attachment during life-threatening situations. For example, adults with life-threatening jobs (firefighters and soldiers) tend to develop attachment relationships with their colleagues and fellows (Umemura et al., under review). Hence, we assume that pregnant women in the threatening situations would also develop attachment relationships with their unborn baby, as well as with other figures. Our sample consists of 889 Czech women in their third trimester of pregnancy who were involved in our longitudinal survey study (called “the DOMOV project”). We assessed their attachment preferences during pregnancy using Important People Interview (Rosenthal & Kobak, 2010). We will present associations of these pregnant women’s attachment preference for their unborn child with their physical health, anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9), attachment quality to partner (ECR-RS) and marital satisfaction (RDAS) during pregnancy. Preliminary analysis showed that approximately 10% of pregnant women reported their unborn baby as one of their preferred attachment figures.
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