Impact of a Cleft Lip and/or Palate on Maternal Stress and Attachment Representations.
Objective : The announcement, prenatally or at birth, of a cleft lip and/or palate represents a challenge for the parents. The purpose of this study is to identify parental working internal models of the child (parental representations of the child and relationship in the context of attachment theory) and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in mothers of infants born with a cleft. Method : The study compares mothers with a child born with a cleft (n = 22) and mothers with a healthy infant (n = 36). Results : The study shows that mothers of infants with a cleft more often experience insecure parental working internal models of the child and more posttraumatic stress symptoms than mothers of the control group. It is interesting that the severity or complexity of the cleft is not related to parental representations and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. The maternal emotional involvement, as expressed in maternal attachment representations, is higher in mothers of children with a cleft who had especially high posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, as compared with mothers of children with a cleft having fewer posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Discussion : Mothers of children with a cleft may benefit from supportive therapy regarding parent-child attachment, even when they express low posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms.
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