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Title: 'Thinking about parenting' : the role of mind-mindedness and parental cognitions in parental behaviour and child developmental outcomes
Author: Fishburn, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 8278
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis aimed to investigate the proposal that mind-mindedness – a caregiver’s proclivity to treat their child as an individual with a mind of their own (Meins, 1997) – is a quality of close relationships, by assessing mind-mindedness (a) in caregiver–child dyads where the relationship has not spanned the child’s life, (b) in dyads where the relationship has been judged as dysfunctional, and (c) within an interactional context. Studies 1 and 2 showed that mind-mindedness was lower in adoptive parents (ns 89, 36) compared with biological parents (ns 54, 114); this group difference was independent of parental mental health and parents’ views on child development, and could not fully be explained in terms of children’s behavioural difficulties (Study 2). Study 3 showed that mind-mindedness was also lower in foster carers (n = 122), and biological parents whose children either were the subject of a child protection plan (n = 172) or had been taken into care (n = 92), compared with a community sample of biological parents (n = 128). The group differences were independent of parental mental health, children’s behavioural difficulties, and parents’ reported warmth and inductive reasoning. Study 4 developed and validated a new interaction-based assessment of mind-mindedness for use in the preschool years. The new interactional measure of mothers’ mind-mindedness in relation to their 44-month-olds (n = 151) was positively related to the established indices of mind-mindedness: appropriate mind-related comments in the first year of life and concurrent mind-minded child descriptions. Study 5 provided further validation of the new interactional measure by demonstrating its positive associations with known outcomes of mind-mindedness: children’s mentalising abilities at age 4. However, the new interactional measure did not mediate the relation between early mind-mindedness and children’s mentalising abilities. Collectively, the findings are in line with mind-mindedness being a relational construct.
Supervisor: Meins, Elizabeth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available