The association of mothers' attachment style and their psychological reactions to the diagnosis of infant's congenital heart disease

Ety Berant, Mario Mikulincer, Victor Florian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examines the relationship between mothers' attachment style and their immediate psychological reactions to the diagnosis of congenital heart disease (CHD) in their infants. The sample consisted of 151 mothers of newborns, who were divided into three groups according to their infant's health conditions: (a) healthy infants, (b) mild CHD infants, and (c) severe CHD infants. All the mothers answered self-report scales on attachment style, cognitive appraisal of motherhood, perceived support, ways of coping with motherhood tasks, and a measure of psychological distress. Results showed that securely attached mothers appraised motherhood in more positive terms, perceived more available support, were more likely to seek support, and reported less psychological distress than insecurely attached mothers. These associations were more prominent in the severe CHD group, compared with the other two groups. Moreover, appraisal and coping measures were associated with psychological distress and mediated the attachment-distress link. The discussion emphasized the stress-resistance value of secure attachment style immediately after the CHD diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-232
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2001

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