The first aim of the proposed research study is to examine changes in foster mothers' reports of commitment, and neurobiological, psychophysiological, and behavioral correlates of bond formation among foster mothers across the first three months of the relationship with their foster infants.
The second aim i s to identify predictors of individual differences in the bonding among foster mothers. The proposed research project integrates multiple techniques to achieve these goals. Biological measurements will include the foster mothers' production of oxytocin, a hormone associated with bond formation, and the foster mothers' """"""""motivated attention"""""""" (measured through event related potentials) exhibited in response to images of their foster infant. Foster mothers' commitment is measured through a semi-structured interview that includes questions regarding the foster mothers' feelings toward the infant in their care. Behavioral measures include the amount of delight that the foster mothers exhibit toward their infants in play. These factors will be assessed in each foster mother during the first weeks of placement and after the infant has lived with the foster mother for three months. Results from this study would broaden the understanding of how alloparental bonds form, assist in the identification of foster mothers who may have difficulty forming committed bonds to foster infants, and be useful in the development of intervention programs aimed at promoting high-quality foster mother-infant bonds. Because the research will increase the understanding of protective and risk factors related to foster parentinfant bond formation and foster infant development, such research is highly relevant to professionals in a variety of fields who treat infants in foster care or who are involved in foster infant placement decisions. This research study also has high relevance for the field of public health as it would contribute to efforts to reduce the risk of foster infants' developmental and social-emotional problems, which are associated with substance abuse problems, externalizing, and internalizing disorders later in later childhood and adolescence. ? ? ? ?
|Bick, Johanna; Dozier, Mary; Bernard, Kristin et al. (2013) Foster mother-infant bonding: associations between foster mothers' oxytocin production, electrophysiological brain activity, feelings of commitment, and caregiving quality. Child Dev 84:826-40|
|Bick, Johanna; Dozier, Mary (2010) Mothers' and Children's Concentrations of Oxytocin Following Close, Physical Interactions with Biological and Non-biological Children. Dev Psychobiol 52:100-107|