Dag Nordahl

Nordahl disputerer for ph.d.-graden i helsevitenskap og vil offentlig forsvare avhandlingen:

“The transition to motherhood: Maternal well-being and mother-child bonding until four months postpartum”


The doctoral thesis

Disputasen vil bli strømmet

Prøveforelesning over oppgitt emne holdes kl. 10:15 i Aud. Cortex

“Attachment security and mental health in childhood. What have we learned from prospective studies?”

Prøveforelesningen vil også bli strømmet/the trail lecture will also be streamed

Populærvitenskapelig sammendrag av avhandlingen:

The transition to motherhood may be experienced as overwhelming and difficult by many women. The present thesis explores factors that may be associated with maternal well-being and with mothers’ relationship to the fetus/infant. It is based on self-report data and has a special focus on how mothers’ early maladaptive schemas (EMSs), their adult attachment style and a short intervention, the Newborn Behavioral Observation, which aims to sensitize mothers to infants’ signals and needs, are related to parenting stress, symptoms of depression and the mother-infant and mother-fetus relationship. The thesis is part of a Tromsø population-based study (the NorBaby study) and is designed as a prospective longitudinal study following prospective mothers from pregnancy and until a mean of four months postdelivery, and the intervention part of the study was designed as a non-randomized cluster-controlled design.
The purpose of the present thesis was: 1) to examine the association between mothers` EMSs and maternal-fetal bonding during pregnancy. Further, to explore symptoms of depression as a mediator in this association, 2) to explore the association between mothers` attachment styles and the quality of maternal infant bonding around six weeks postpartum. Further, to investigate parenting stress as a mediator of the association between adult attachment style and mother-infant bonding, and 3) to evaluate the NBO as a universal preventive intervention within the regular well-baby clinic service. We investigated whether receiving the NBO was associated with maternal symptoms of depression and parenting stress, mother-infant bonding, maternal confidence, reflective functioning, and satisfaction with and benefit from postpartum follow-up care.
Results indicate that EMSs, especially from the domain of disconnection and rejection domain, was related to poorer maternal-fetal bonding. Maternal symptoms of depression were found to mediate the relationship between EMSs and maternal-fetal bonding. Maternal attachment style, especially attachment avoidance, was related to poorer mother-infant bonding. Parenting stress mediated the relationship between attachment style and mother-infant bonding. Receiving the NBO-intervention was not associated with lower levels of maternal depressive symptoms and parenting stress, nor with stronger mother-infant bonding, better reflective functioning, or higher maternal confidence. However, the NBO was associated with increased knowledge about the infant`s signals. There may be limited benefits of the NBO in a well-functioning population of new mothers. The results on EMSs and adult attachment styles may have implications for identification of mothers at risk of bonding difficulties to their unborn child and their infant.


Professor Catharina E. A. Wang, Institutt for psykologi, Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, UiT Norges arktiske universitet

Biveileder Professor Jens C. Thimm, Institutt for psykologi, Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, UiT Norges arktiske universitet

Professor Gerit Pfuhl, Institutt for psykologi, NTNU


Professor Mette Skovgaard Væver, Institutt for psykologi, Københavns Universitet ​– 1. opponent

Professor Silje Steinsbekk, Institutt for psykologi, NTNU - 2. opponent

Førsteamanuensis Per Håkan Brøndbo, Institutt for psykologi, Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, UiT Norges arktiske universitet – leder av komité

Disputasleder: Professor Oddgeir Friborg, Institutt for psykologi, Det helsevitenskapelige fakultet, UiT Norges arktiske universitet

When: 21.09.23 at 10.15–16.15
Where: Auditorium Cortex
Location / Campus: Digital, Tromsø
Target group: Employees, Students, Guests, Invited
Link: Klikk her
Contact: Guro Pedersen
Phone: 77 64 64 05
E-mail: guro.pedersen@uit.no
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