Original contribution

Archives of Women’s Mental Health

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 45-51

A new Mother-to-Infant Bonding Scale: links with early maternal mood

  • A. TaylorAffiliated withThames Valley University
  • , R. AtkinsAffiliated withThames Valley University
  • , R. KumarAffiliated withInstitute of Psychiatry
  • , D. AdamsAffiliated withImperial College
  • , V. GloverAffiliated withImperial College

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Some mothers find it hard to relate to their new baby, and such failure may have long-term effects on the infant. This has been a neglected area of research. A new simple 8 item self-rating mother-to-infant bonding questionnaire has been designed to assess the feelings of a mother towards her new baby. A principal components and reliability analysis demonstrated an alpha score of 0.71. One hundred and sixty two women filled in the Kennerley Blues Scale, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) the Highs Scale and the new Mother to Infant Bonding Scale on day 3 postpartum. Twelve weeks later they were sent the EPDS and the Bonding scales again. One hundred and forty four returned all questionnaires. There was a strong correlation between the Bonding scores at 3 days and at 12 weeks (rs=0.54 p<0.001). Multiple regression analysis showed that those with raised Blues scores had worse, and those with raised Highs scores had better bonding at 3 days. Those with raised EPDS scores at 3 days (13 and over) had worse bonding scores in the “first few weeks” (median 4 versus 1, p = 0.028), as recalled at 12 weeks. This simple questionnaire is acceptable for use with mothers and gives significant correlations with their early mood.

Keywords: Prospective study; mother-infant bonding; postnatal depression; blues; highs.