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Infant-mother attachment can be improved through group intervention: a preliminary evaluation in Spain in a non-randomized controlled trial

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Spanish Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
Volume14
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)630-638
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The quality of infant-mother attachment has been linked to competence in different domains of child development. Research indicates that early intervention can enhance the quality of infant-mother attachment, though its efficacy in a group format has yet to be evaluated. The current study is aimed at examining the usefulness of a group intervention in enhancing infant-mother attachment. An intervention aimed at addressing aspects such as maternal responsivity, sensitivity and childrearing behaviour was developed by the researchers and experienced psychologists. The intervention spanned a period of 14 months starting from the third quarter of pregnancy. The intervention was evaluated among 24 mothers from the Basque region of Spain. The sample consisted of children of both genders in a similar proportion: 45.8% were boys and 54.2% were girls. The children in this sample were full-term born and did not present symptoms of any serious pre- or postnatal complications. The intervention had a statistically non-significant medium effect. Infants whose mothers had received the intervention showed higher rates of secure attachment compared to children from the control group, as assessed by the Strange Situation observation procedure. A potentially significant confounding variable, maternal attachment, was balanced across the intervention and comparison groups. We can tentatively point out that a group intervention may enhance the quality of infant-mother attachment. Nevertheless, because the study design was not randomized, the results of this study remain preliminary and need replication in a full randomized controlled trial designed study.