Perceived and observed mother-child interaction at time of hospitalization and release in postpartum depression and psychosis

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2008;11(1):49-56. doi: 10.1007/s00737-008-0217-0. Epub 2008 Feb 14.


Introduction: A pilot study was conducted which compared perceived mother-infant bonding in women admitted with postpartum depression or psychosis, with observations of mother-infant interaction by the nursing staff at both the time of hospitalization and that of release.

Method: 25 mother-infant pairs admitted to a psychiatric unit were included in this study. The Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire was used to assess the perceived mother-infant bond and the observation of mother-infant interaction was assessed with the Bethlem Mother-Infant Interaction Scale.

Results: At the time of both hospitalization and release postpartum depressed women experienced the bond with their child significantly more negative than women with postpartum psychosis. In contrast to women with postpartum psychosis, the experience of postpartum depressed women was significantly correlated with the observations of the nursing staff at time of release.

Conclusion: Treatment that focuses on a mother's experience of the bond with her child could be especially beneficial for mothers with postpartum depression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Netherlands
  • Object Attachment*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric