During my interviews with the mothers and their babies, I often asked myself: “What will happen to them later?” Together with the child psychoanalyst and researcher Majlis Winberg Salomonsson, we planned a follow-up study at the unit of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Institution of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet. After having received an ethical permission, we started the follow-up project in October 2009, when the oldest child of the infant study now was four and a half years old.

A child of this age can talk, draw and speak with a child psychologist. This makes assessments more reliable than with babies. I interviewed the mothers about what had happened in their relationship with their babies since we last met. Majlis WS interviewed and tested the children. Just like in the infant study, we used several assessment methods; the same as in the infant project plus several new instruments which were necessary now that the children had become older.

  1. The mother’s attachment to her child was measured with “Working Model of the Child Interview” (WMCI)
  2. The child’s pattern of attachment was measured with the Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP). With the help of Playmobil dolls, the child was asked to finish little stories that the psychologist was telling him or her. You can read more about different attachment measures here.
  3. The child’s emotional development was measured with Machover’s, Draw-a-person test.
  4. The child’s cognitive development was measured with Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI).

The interviews were finished in the summer of 2012. The processing of data was made with Kimmo Sorjonen, university lecturer at the Karolinska Institutet. Mothers who had received MIP (Mother-Infant Psychoanalytic treatment) had lower depression scores from the ending of treatment up to when their children were 4½  years. The children had more optimal scores on the CGAS (Children’s Global Assessment Scale), which measures their general function in relationships and everyday life. There were also more children who, in a clinical assessment by the child psychologist, seemed “OK” in the MIP-group compared with the comparison group. The other instruments showed no statistically significant changes. We conclduded that MIP seemed to have certain beneficial long-term effects on mothers and children, and that more studies of this kind need to be done.

Here are the references to the two studies:

Winberg Salomonsson, M., Sorjonen, K., & Salomonsson, B. (2015). A long-term follow-up of a randomized controlled trial of mother–infant psychoanalytic treatment: Outcomes on the children. Infant Mental Health Journal, 36(1), 12-29.

Winberg Salomonsson, M., Sorjonen, K., & Salomonsson, B. (2015). A long-term follow-up study of a randomized controlled trial of mother-infant psychoanalytic treatment: Outcomes on mothers and interactions. Infant Mental Health Journal, 36(6), 542-555.

There are more things to be researched in the area. Please, continue here!