Differentiation of the self and the body and adjustment to motherhood – A latent class analysis

Anat Talmon*, Nofar Shaham Salomon, Karni Ginzburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Self-differentiation is a recognized predictor of adjustment to transitional periods of the life cycle, such as transition to motherhood. Less, however, is known about body differentiation, its relational pattern with self-differentiation, and its effect on adjustment to motherhood. The aims of this research were to identify distinct subgroups of differentiation among pregnant women (T1) and to examine the predictive role of these classes in adjustment to motherhood, two-months postpartum (T2). Methods: Two studies were conducted. In Study 1, the basic clusters structure was examined among a sample of non-pregnant women (N = 583), who filled out questionnaires assessing their self- and body differentiation. In addition, stability across five months was assessed. In Study 2, the cluster classification was validated and the relational pattern to the adjustment to motherhood was tested. Three-hundred-and-ninety-four women filled out a battery of questionnaires assessing their self- and body differentiation during pregnancy (T1), and the body experience, maternal efficacy, mother–infant bonding, and depression two-months postpartum (T2). Results: Results of Study 1′s latent class analysis revealed four classes:” differentiated,” “moderate,” “body-differentiated,” and “undifferentiated,” comprising women with low levels of body-self differentiation. This structure was replicated in Study 2. In addition, a series of analyses indicated that women classified as “differentiated” during their pregnancies (T1) demonstrated higher levels of adjustment to motherhood (T2), while those classified as “undifferentiated” at T1 reported the lowest levels of adjustment at T2. Conclusions: The findings suggest a new body-self differentiation classification and emphasize that clinical interventions for women forming their new identities as mothers should target both concepts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Adjustment to motherhood
  • Body
  • Differentiation
  • Postpartum depression
  • Self


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