The Impact of Attending a Psycho-educational Antenatal Group on the Observed Parent-Infant Relationship
The important implications of the attachment relationship have led researchers to consider what the precursors to a secure attachment relationship are. Ainsworth, Bell, and Stayton (1971) proposed that maternal sensitivity was the fundamental trait in developing a secure attachment relationship. However, recent research has identified that mind-mindedness; the tendency of a parent to treat their infant as an individual with a mind (Meins, Fernyhough, Fradley & Tuckey, 2001), is a better predictor of parent infant attachment than maternal sensitivity. This study explored the impact of a new antenatal intervention called Baby World on the subsequent mind-mindedness of participants as well as its impact on the parent infant relationship. Participants who had attended the Baby World class and standard NHS antenatal classes (intervention group, N=21) were compared to those who had only attended standard NHS antenatal classes (control group, N=19). The study also explored whether planned pregnancies led to more mind-mindedness than unplanned pregnancies; whether emotional and physical wellbeing in pregnancy predicted mindmindedness and if there was any concordance between couples mind-mindedness. Results showed that participants in the intervention group used significantly more appropriate mind-minded comments than those in the control group. The intervention group also scored significantly higher than the control group on the Absence of Hostility subscale of the Maternal Postnatal Attachment Scale (MPAS, Condon & Corkindale, 1998). There was a non-significant trend of the intervention group scoring higher than the control group on the overall MPAS score as well as the Pleasure in Interaction subscale of the MPAS. The results also illustrated that emotional and physical wellbeing in pregnancy did not predict mind-mindedness and no concordance between couples mind-mindedness was found. Theoretical explanations of these findings are presented and the clinical implications and future research are discussed.