ERIC Number: EJ941031
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Imagining Your Child's Mind: Psychosocial Adjustment and Mothers' Ability to Predict Their Children's Attributional Response Styles
Sharp, Carla; Fonagy, Peter; Goodyer, Ian M.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v24 n1 p197-214 Mar 2006
One class of parent-child interaction that has recently received attention is a mother's engagement with her child at a mental level. The current study operationalizes this notion by asking the mothers of 354 7- to 11-year-old children drawn from a larger community sample (N=659) to guess the responses of their children, who, in turn, were asked to attribute thoughts to their peers in distressing peer-related scenarios. The following predictions were made: (1) mothers would be above chance in the accuracy by which they predicted their children's overall attributional styles; (2) increased maternal accuracy would be an important correlate of reduced psychopathology symptoms in children; and (3) poor maternal accuracy would associate with a maladaptive child attributional response style characterized by unrealistic and overly positive attributions. Results suggested that maternal accuracy was normally distributed with mothers accurately guessing the responses of their children for about half of the social scenarios. Furthermore, mothers were shown to be above chance in the accuracy by which they predicted their children's overall attributional styles. Maternal accuracy was found to be related to child psychosocial adjustment (reduced scores on child psychopathology measures), whilst poor maternal accuracy was associated with ineffective social-cognitive reasoning, as indexed by an unrealistic and overly positive child attributional style. Findings are discussed within the context of the burgeoning literature linking attachment, family talk about feelings and thoughts, and parental mind-mindedness.
Descriptors: Adjustment (to Environment), Parent Child Relationship, Mothers, Children, Responses, Accuracy, Prediction
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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