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Maternal mind-mindedness and children's behavioral difficulties: mitigating the impact of low socioeconomic status.

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

Age Factors, Child, Child Behavior, psychology, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Infant, Internal-External Control, physiology, Male, Models, Statistical, Mother-Child Relations, Mothers, Predictive Value of Tests, Social Class, Theory of Mind, Adult

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      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.

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