Methods: The sample comprised 29 mother-infant dyads, receiving psychodynamic parent-infant psychotherapy in outpatient treatment units offering integrative parenting and substance use treatments. Mother’s attachment-related RF was measured with Adult Attachment Interview (AAI-RF) during pregnancy, and parenting-related RF with Pregnancy Interview (PI-RF) during pregnancy and Parent Development Interview (PDI-RF) at child age of 4 months. Mother-infant interaction quality was measured in all dyads with Emotional Availability Scales at 4 and 12 months.
Results: AAI-RF was highly correlated with parenting-RF both pre- and postnatally (r=.59 and r=.51). Hierarchical regressions (covaried with marital status and economical problems) showed that lower PI-RF predicted lower maternal sensitivity (β=.70, p <.01), structuring (β=.80, p <.01), child responsiveness (β=.74, p <.01), and child involvement (β=.75, p <.01), at 4 months, but more positive change from 4 to 12 months in sensitivity (β =-.56. p <.05), structuring (β =-.72. p <.01), child responsiveness (β =-.69. p <.01) and child involvement (β =-.65. p <.05) Higher prenatal AAI-RF predicted more positive change from 4 to 12 months especially related to intrusiveness (β=.53, p <.05).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that AAI-RF and parenting-RF are related, but only partially overlapping constructs. Prenatal parenting-RF may be more predictive of dyadic interaction and easier and especially vital to target in parenting interventions, whereas AAI-RF may indicate more general vulnerabilities in maternal emotion and behavior regulation.