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Title: The impact of maternal mental illness on mothers and their infants
Author: Rigby, Janice
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 2538
Awarding Body: City University London
Current Institution: City, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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Research has shown that maternal mental illness can affect mother-infant interactions with implications for infant outcomes, including attachment outcome. Severe and chronic mental illness (SMI), particularly schizophrenia, is associated with the greatest risk. Schizophrenia is also associated with impairments in theory of mind (ToM). Recent attachment research has suggested that maternal mentalising skills are strongly associated with attachment outcome in infants. To date, no research has explored the relationship between ToM and maternal sensitivity in mothers with SMI using standard tests of ToM. 40 women with SMJ in the post-partum period were administered a battery of ToM tasks and general neuropsychological tasks. The women also participated in an unstructured play session with their infants, which was filmed and coded for maternal sensitivity. One ToM task, the Frith -Happe Animations, predicted maternal sensitivity across all diagnoses. An unexpected moderator effect was observed; ToM and maternal sensitivity were most strongly related in mothers with primary/secondary-only (versus tertiary) education and mothers from an ethnic minority background. There was also an effect of diagnosis, with lower sensitivity observed in the mothers with schizophrenia. ToM impairments did not fully explain effect of diagnosis. Mothers of girls were rated as. being more sensitive than mothers of boys.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available