The role of oxytocin in mother-infant relations : a systematic review of human studies

Galbally, Megan, Lewis, Andrew James, van Ijzendoorn, Marinus and Permezel, Michael 2011, The role of oxytocin in mother-infant relations : a systematic review of human studies, Harvard review of psychiatry, vol. 19, no. 1, January/February, pp. 1-14, doi: 10.3109/10673229.2011.549771.

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Title The role of oxytocin in mother-infant relations : a systematic review of human studies
Author(s) Galbally, Megan
Lewis, Andrew JamesORCID iD for Lewis, Andrew James
van Ijzendoorn, Marinus
Permezel, Michael
Journal name Harvard review of psychiatry
Volume number 19
Issue number 1
Season January/February
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Informa Healthcare
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2011
ISSN 1067-3229
Keyword(s) Attachment
Mother-infant relations
Summary Background: Oxytocin is associated with the establishment and quality of maternal behavior in animal models. Parallel investigations in humans are now under way. This article reviews the current research examining the role of oxytocin in mother-infant relations, attachment, and bonding in humans. Methods: A systematic search was made of three electronic databases and other bibliographic sources for published research studies that examined oxytocin and mother-infant relations in humans, including attachment, maternal behavior, parenting, and mother-infant relations. Results: Eight studies were identified, all of which were unique in their methodologies, populations studied, and measures used. Seven studies found significant and strong associations between levels or patterns of oxytocin and aspects of mother-infant relations or attachment. Conclusions: Oxytocin appears to be of crucial importance for understanding mother-infant relationships. The findings of this review suggest that the pioneering, but preliminary, research undertaken to date is promising and that replication with larger samples is needed. Research that draws on more robust measures of attachment and bonding, as well as improved measures of oxytocin that include both central and peripheral levels, will elucidate the role of oxytocin in human mother-infant relationships. As the production of oxytocin is by no means restricted to mothers, the extension of the oxytocin studies to fathering, as well as to alloparental caregiving, would be an intriguing next step.
Language eng
DOI 10.3109/10673229.2011.549771
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 920209 Mental Health Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, President and Fellows of Harvard College
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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Created: Wed, 19 Jan 2011, 12:26:43 EST by Jane Moschetti

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