Bridging the gap between attachment and object relations theories: a study of the transition to motherhood.Br J Med Psychol. 2001 Mar; 74(Pt 1):85-100.BJ
An empirical study of the relations between assessments of adult attachment styles and object representations was performed in the context of first-time mothers' emotional ties to their unborn babies. We assumed that, while conceptualizations of attachment behaviour and internal working models grasp the early basic patterns of interpersonal relationships and affect regulation, object representations indicate current transformations of these patterns in an individual's internal world. Participants were a sample of 120 women in the third trimester of their first pregnancy. Participants' representations of their own mothers were found to fully mediate the association between internal working models and antenatal ties to their babies. Similarities and differences between theoretical conceptualizations and empirical operationalizations of attachment and object relations theories are discussed.