J Korean Acad Nurs.  2005 Aug;35(5):798-809.

The Relationship between Early Neo-maternal Exposure, and Maternal Attachment, Maternal Self-esteem and Postpartum Depression in the Mothers of NICU Infants

  • 1Department of Nursing, College of Medicine Inha University, Incheon, Korea. aym@inha.ac.kr.


PURPOSE: This study was performed to investigate the quantities of three neo-maternal exposures; visiting frequency, auditory contact and physical contact, and to examine the relationship between the quantities of each exposure and maternal attachment, maternal self-esteem and postpartum depression in 40 mothers of NICU babies during the first week in the NICU. METHOD: Each neo-maternal exposure was counted at every mother's visit to the newborn and maternal attachment, maternal self-esteem and postpartum depression were measured using the maternal attachment inventory, the maternal self-report inventory and Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) on the first and seventh day in the NICU. RESULT: The Mean of each neo-maternal exposure was 8.77(2.81) for the visiting frequency, 5.82(3.66) for the auditory contact and 5.60(2.89) for the physical contact during 7 days in the NICU. No significant changes were found in the scores of maternal attachment, maternal self-esteem and postpartum depression between the first and the seventh day in the NICU. The quantities of neo-maternal exposures were positively related to the scores of maternal attachment and maternal self-esteem but not related to postpartum depression. CONCLUSION: The results of the study suggest the lack of early neo-maternal exposure in cases of NICU hospitalization negate its beneficial effects on maternal psychological well-being in increasing maternal attachment and self-esteem. More efforts are neededfor the neo-maternal interaction and the reevaluation of NICU visitation hours in order to promote maternal-infant interaction.


Infant; NICU; Attachment; Self-esteem; Postpartum depression

MeSH Terms

*Self Concept
*Object Attachment
*Mother-Child Relations
Maternal Behavior
*Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
Infant, Newborn
Depression, Postpartum/*psychology
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