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The development of Cranley's (1981) Maternal Fetal Attachment Scale (MFAS) has stimulated a great deal of research and discussion about the theories, methods and moderating factors affecting prenatal attachment. However, there has been considerable questioning of the validity of the MFAS. For example, it remains unclear whether the inconsistencies found in the literature using the MFAS are related to the issue of the conceptualization of the dimensions measured with this test, the items that are included in the test, or the interaction of the MFAS with personality, situational, ecological or demographic factors that influence pregnant women. The present paper is a discussion of five issues that relate to clarifying the use of the MFAS as a measure of prenatal attachment. The five issues include a discussion of the subscales of the test, the general reliability of the test, the validity, factors correlated with the MFAS and the concern about normative data for the measure. Each of these issues is developed both with a survey of the relevant literature and related theoretical ponderings. Suggestions for future research are included.

KEY WORDS: prenatal attachment; maternal fetal attachment; maternal fetal attachment scale.


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JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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