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Jun May 2013 Child development

Foster mother-infant bonding: associations between foster mothers’ oxytocin production, electrophysiological brain activity, feelings of commitment, and caregiving quality.


Bick J, Dozier M, Grasso D, Simons R


This study examined the biological processes associated with foster mother-infant bonding. In an examination of foster mother-infant dyads (N = 41, mean infant age = 8.5 months), foster mothers’ oxytocin production was associated with their expressions of behavioral delight toward their foster infant and their average P3 response to images of all infant faces in the first 2 months of the relationship. Three months later, foster mothers’ oxytocin production was still associated with delight toward their foster infant and was also specifically associated with their P3 response to an image of their foster infant. Similar to biologically related mothers and infants, oxytocin appears to be associated with foster mothers’ brain activity and caregiving behavior, with patterns suggestive of bond formation.

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