Reliability and validity of the German version of the Maternal–Fetal Attachment Scale
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In understanding early disturbances in the mother–child relationship, maternal–fetal attachment has become an important concept. To date no study has investigated the reliability and validity of the German version of the Maternal Fetal Attachment Scale (MFAS). The present study aimed to close this gap.
Questionnaires were completed in a sample of 324 women [third trimester (T1), first week postpartum (T2), and 4 months postpartum (T3)]. In addition to the MFAS (T1), the following measures were assessed: the questionnaire of partnership (T1), the postpartum bonding questionnaire (T2), the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (T1–T3), the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (T1–T3), and the pregnancy related anxiety questionnaire (T1–T3). Factor structure was analyzed using a principal component analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation. Internal and convergent validities were calculated.
In contrast to the original version with five subscales, PCA yielded a three-factor solution, consisting of the three independent dimensions “anticipation”, “empathy”, and “caring”, explaining 34.9% of the variance together. Good internal reliabilities were found for the total MFAS scale. Maternal–fetal attachment showed a significant negative correlation with postpartum bonding impairment. While no correlations were found with depression, general anxiety and pregnancy-related anxiety during pregnancy, maternal–fetal attachment was significantly related to aspects of partnership quality. In the postpartum period, maternal attachment showed a strong negative correlation with maternal anxiety.
Our results suggest that the German version of the MFAS is a reliable and valid questionnaire to measure the emotional relationship of the mother to the unborn child during pregnancy.
KeywordsMaternal–fetal attachment Anxiety Depression Postpartum bonding Pregnancy
This study was funded by the German Society of Psychosomatics in Gynecology and Obstetrics.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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