Predictors of maternal prenatal attachment and pregnancy adaptation in women conceived via assisted reproductive techniques: A mixed method study

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2018




The main target of present dissertation was to achieve a deeper understanding of the psychology of pregnant women who conceived via assisted reproductive techniques (ART). For this purpose, a mixed method study was designed and three separate studies were conducted. In the first study, Turkish adaptation of the Parenthood Motivation Scale was conducted with 457 pregnant women. Results revealed that the measure was reliable and valid, and women who conceived via ART had higher motivations in terms of overall motivation levels, and identity and social pressure dimensions. In the second study, the effects of psychosocial factors on women’s pregnancy adaptation and prenatal attachment were investigated for 185 ART-conceived expectant mothers. The findings of moderation analyses emphasized that, first, the relation between prenatal distress and pregnancy adaptation could be buffered via perceived friend support, and intensified via anxious attachment style. Second, in the case of higher distress, women showed higher prenatal attachment levels. Third, prenatal distress negatively, and perceived social support from significant other positively influenced the relation between parenthood motivation and pregnancy adaptation. In the third study, to provide a comprehensive knowledge about these findings, the experiences of ART-conceived pregnant women were investigated through focus group discussions. The results of thematic analysis demonstrated three super-ordinate themes: (1) infertility and treatment process: feeling like an “empty can”, (2) pregnancy process: “what if I have a miscarriage”, (3) projections about motherhood: despair and hope. Based on the literature, the findings of present dissertation were discussed with its strengths, limitations and clinical implications.