Article

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 543-553

Maternal Mind-Mindedness and Children’s Behavioral Difficulties: Mitigating the Impact of Low Socioeconomic Status

  • Elizabeth MeinsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology and Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Science Laboratories Email author 
  • , Luna C. Muñoz CentifantiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology and Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Science Laboratories
  • , Charles FernyhoughAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology and Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Science Laboratories
  • , Sarah FishburnAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology and Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Science Laboratories

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Abstract

Relations between mothers’ tendency to comment appropriately on their 8-month-olds’ internal states (mind-mindedness) and children’s behavioral difficulties (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) at ages 44 and 61 months were investigated in a socially diverse sample (N = 171, 88 boys). Controlling for maternal depressive symptoms, perceived social support, sensitivity, child language ability, and child gender, maternal mind-mindedness was negatively related to children’s externalizing and internalizing behaviors specifically in low socioeconomic status (SES) families. Furthermore, behavioral difficulties at age 44 months mediated the relation between maternal mind-mindedness and behavioral difficulties at age 61 months, but only for low SES families. These findings are discussed with reference to possible ways in which mind-mindedness could inform interventions targeted at at-risk groups.

Keywords

Maternal mind-mindedness Low socioeconomic status Internalizing difficulties Externalizing difficulties Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire