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Title: The relationship between body image and mother to infant attachment in the postpartum period
Author: Williams, Katie
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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Evidence suggests that body image disturbance (BID) is common in the postpartum period and that a relationship between body image and mother-infant attachment exists. However, few studies have explored whether BID predicts the strength of the mother-infant attachment. This study aimed to explore the relationship between body image disturbance and perceived mother-infant attachment in the postpartum period. It was hypothesised that body image disturbance will increase over the course of the postpartum period and body image disturbance will predict perceived mother-infant attachment at 6-weeks and 6-months postpartum. Data was collected from across the UK using both paper forms via GP surgeries and parent-baby groups as well as advertising through various online forums. The survey included the Body Shape Questionnaire- 14 (measuring body image disturbance) the General Health Questionnaire- 28 (measuring maternal mental health) the Maternal Attachment Inventory (measuring perceived mother-infant attachment) and demographic information. Surveys were administered at 6-weeks and 6-months postpartum. A total of 180 participants completed surveys at T1 and 114 were completed at T2. A complete case sample of 114 was used for the analysis. The findings suggested that maternal mental health was predictive of perceived mother-infant attachment at both 6-weeks and 6-months postpartum. Analysis also found that body image and maternal mental health were correlated at both time points. Body image and feeding method as single predictors did not significantly predict the mother-infant attachment. It was concluded that body image disturbances are common in the postpartum period and are associated with poorer maternal mental health in the postpartum period. Distress experienced by mothers in the postpartum period can negatively impact upon the strength of the mother-infant attachment. The clinical implications of the study are that mothers may benefit from additional support from health professionals in the postpartum period to assess and offer support with such issues with the aim of improving well-being. In turn this may positively impact upon the perceived mother-infant attachment. Considerations for future research based on the findings of this study are discussed.
Supervisor: Traviss-Turner, Gemma ; Bryant, Louise Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available