Adult Attachment, the Transition to Parenthood, and Depressive Symptoms

Jeffry A. Simpson, W. Steven Rholes, Lorne Campbell, Sisi Tran, Carol L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Testing a model suggested by J. Bowlby (1988), this study investigated how a personal vulnerability (attachment ambivalence) interacts with perceptions of deficient spousal support before and during a major life stressor (the transition to parenthood) to predict pre-to-postnatal increases in depressive symptoms. Highly ambivalent women who entered parenthood perceiving either less support or greater anger from their husbands experienced pre-to-postnatal increases in depressive symptoms at 6 months postpartum. The associations between these 2 prenatal interaction terms and pre-to-postnatal increases in depressive symptoms were mediated by perceptions of declining spousal support across the transition period. Moreover, for highly ambivalent women, the association between prenatal and postnatal depression scores was mediated by perceptions of the amount of support available from their husbands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1187
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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