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A Study of Maternal Attachment Among Mothers of Infants With Congenital Anomalies in Turkey

Ylmaz, Hatice Bal PhD, RNι; Kavlak, Oya PhD, RN; Isler, Aysegul PhD, RN; Liman, Tülin RN; Van Sell, Sharon L. EdD, PAHM

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e31821b465b
Original Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that affect maternal attachment among mothers whose infants were born with congenital anomalies. A questionnaire was used to collect individual sociodemographic data, and the Maternal Attachment Inventory was used to collect information about the emotional attachment of mothers to infants with congenital anomalies. This descriptive and cross-sectional study was performed at Ege University Children's Hospital in Izmir, Turkey. The study sample comprised 70 mothers with infants ranging from 1 to 8 months of age with congenital anomalies. We found a meaningful statistical difference between the Maternal Attachment Inventory point averages of mothers with infants with congenital anomalies and no chance for a cure and the economic conditions of mothers, and we also found correlations with problems during the pregnancy (P < .05). Even though the average maternal attachment of mothers who held their infants just after birth was higher than for mothers who held their infants many hours later, there was no statistically meaningful difference (P > .05). This study demonstrated that maternal attachment is lower in mothers with infants who have congenital anomalies that cannot be cured. Given that mothers of infants with congenital anomalies that cannot be cured have the highest risk for maternal detachment, nurses should plan treatment carefully.

Ege University School of Nursing Pediatric Nursing Department (Dr Yilmaz) and Gynecology and Obstetrics Nursing Department (Dr Kavlak), and Ege University Children's Hospital (Ms Liman), Izmir, Turkey; Pediatric Nursing Department, Akdeniz University Antalya School of Health, Antalya, Turkey (Dr Isler); and Texas Women's University College of Nursing, Dallas (Dr Van Sell).

Correspondence: Aysegul Isler, PhD, RN, Akdeniz University Antalya School of Health, Antalya, Turkey (

We thank all of the mothers who gave their informed consent for the study. This study received external funding from Akdeniz University Scientific Research Project Unit.

©2011Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.