Labor, delivery, and early parenthood: An attachment theory perspective

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Having a baby is a powerful experience that, according to attachment theory, should activate the attachment system and elicit attachment needs and motives. The current study investigated first-time parents' perceptions of and responses to events surrounding labor and delivery and early parenthood. Couples expecting their first child completed measures of attachment orientations and questionnaires assessing key aspects of the experience of labor, delivery, and early parenthood. Attachment anxiety and avoidance significantly predicted individuals' perceptions of themselves and their partners, reactions to their partners' behavior, and emotional responses to their infants. Jealousy of the infant, perceptions of support given to or received from partners, and feelings of closeness to the infant were all associated with attachment orientations in theoretically meaningful ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-518
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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