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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The formation of an attachment bond to a parent or caregiver is a key developmental milestone that occurs during the first year of a child’s life. In this chapter, we examine the relation between maternal psychopathology and the development of the young child’s attachment relationship with his or her mother. In general, the identified direction of effects from research points to greater risk for child insecure or disorganized attachment when the mother is psychiatrically ill, yet the research is equivocal, and findings suggest that other risk factors, as well as resiliency factors, must be considered for their influences of attachment relationship formation in the context of maternal psychopathology. Studies have begun to elucidate some of the mediating and moderating factors, yet much work remains to be done in order to understand the complex relation between maternal mental health and the quality of attachment.

Keywords: attachment, maternal depression, maternal psychopathology, mother-infant relationship

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