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Doster, Anne; Wallwiener, Stephanie ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2045-650X; Müller, Mitho ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8431-540X; Matthies, Lina Maria; Plewniok, Katharina; Feller, Sandra; Kuon, Ruben-Jeremias; Sohn, Christof; Rom, Joachim; Wallwiener, Markus and Reck, Corinna (May 2018): Reliability and validity of the German version of the Maternal-Fetal Attachment Scale. In: Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 297, No. 5: pp. 1157-1167

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Objectives: In understanding early disturbances in the mother–child relationship, maternal–fetal attachment has become an important concept. To date no study has investigated the reliability and validity of the German version of the Maternal Fetal Attachment Scale (MFAS). The present study aimed to close this gap.

Methods: Questionnaires were completed in a sample of 324 women [third trimester (T1), first week postpartum (T2), and 4 months postpartum (T3)]. In addition to the MFAS (T1), the following measures were assessed: the questionnaire of partnership (T1), the postpartum bonding questionnaire (T2), the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (T1–T3), the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (T1–T3), and the pregnancy related anxiety questionnaire (T1–T3). Factor structure was analyzed using a principal component analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation. Internal and convergent validities were calculated.

Results: In contrast to the original version with five subscales, PCA yielded a three-factor solution, consisting of the three independent dimensions “anticipation”, “empathy”, and “caring”, explaining 34.9% of the variance together. Good internal reliabilities were found for the total MFAS scale. Maternal–fetal attachment showed a significant negative correlation with postpartum bonding impairment. While no correlations were found with depression, general anxiety and pregnancy-related anxiety during pregnancy, maternal–fetal attachment was significantly related to aspects of partnership quality. In the postpartum period, maternal attachment showed a strong negative correlation with maternal anxiety.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the German version of the MFAS is a reliable and valid questionnaire to measure the emotional relationship of the mother to the unborn child during pregnancy.

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