The response of black mothers to the birth of an albino infant

Am J Dis Child. 1987 Aug;141(8):911-6. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460080097038.


The nature of the response of 37 black mothers to their albino infants, in comparison with matched controls, was investigated longitudinally by means of interviews and observations. Mothers were found initially to be depressed and unhappy, uncomfortable with close contact with their infants, and reluctant to hold and breast-feed them. When observed in interaction with the infants, the mothers showed fewer behaviors in comparison with the controls. Three months later the mothers appeared to be interacting normally with their infants, but they expressed feelings of unhappiness that persisted until the infants reached 9 months of age. The birth of an albino infant seems to cause a delay in maternal attachment and a sadness similar to that described in connection with the birth of an infant with other congenital disorders.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Albinism / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • South Africa