Drawing on data gathered from 14 studies involving a total of 1862 mothers and fathers, this meta-analysis reviews the measures that are used to tap into thoughts and feelings about the unborn infant during pregnancy and examines links between these prenatal measures and parent-child interaction quality. Questionnaire scores for parental-fetal attachment and interview ratings of expectant parents’ representations of their infant showed modest but robust associations with observed parent-child interaction quality. Moderator analyses showed that these associations were significantly stronger for mothers than for fathers. Key lessons for future research include the need for greater consistency in study measures, sample diversity and the examination of associations with child outcomes.
- parental-fetal attachment