Predictors of maternal sensitivity during the early postpartum period

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86 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. This paper reports a study examining the relationship of maternal sensitivity to maternal identity, social support, maternal-fetal attachment and demographic variables. Background. Maternal sensitivity is a mother's ability to perceive and interpret accurately her infant's signals and communications, and then respond appropriately. It is one of the major influencing factors of mother-infant attachment, and needs to be promoted for effective mother-infant interaction. However, limited information is available on the factors that influence postpartum maternal sensitivity. The study was guided by Roy's adaptation model. Methods. A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used. A convenience sample of 196 Korean mothers within 6 weeks of delivery were recruited during July-November 2003 and completed a self-report questionnaire. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and stepwise multiple regression analysis. Results. We found that maternal-fetal attachment, self-identity as a mother, mother's employment status, identification with her baby, support from others, and infant's gestational age at birth were statistically significant predictors of maternal sensitivity postpartum. These variables explained 60% of the variance in maternal sensitivity. Conclusion. Providing social support, enhancing maternal identity, and facilitating maternal-fetal attachment in the antepartum period are recommended to improve postpartum maternal sensitivity. Also, in future research, a path-type model or structural equation model including other variables, such as postnatal depression, needs to be developed and tested for optimal adaptation to becoming a mother.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug


  • Care
  • Empirical research report
  • Midwifery
  • Parenting
  • Postpartum
  • Questionnaire
  • Roy's adaptation model
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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