Minding the children: a longitudinal study of mental state talk, theory of mind and behavioural adjustment from age 3 to age 10.

Carr, A., Slade, L., Yuill, N., Sullivan, S. and Ruffman, T. (2018) Minding the children: a longitudinal study of mental state talk, theory of mind and behavioural adjustment from age 3 to age 10. Social Development. ISSN 0961-205X.

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Abstract

Mothers’ use of mental state talk (MST) is linked to young children’s performance on false belief tests of Theory of Mind (ToM) and to their behaviour in social contexts. However, little is known about MST beyond the early years.

This investigation is the first to examine continuity in both mother and child MST from preschool (age 3-4 years) to middle childhood (age 10) and examines the role of early maternal MST in children’s later ToM and use of MST.

We examine the novel association between MST and children’s behavioural adjustment from pre-school into late childhood. Participants were mother-child dyads from a seven-year longitudinal study. Measures of MST, ToM, and language were administered at home when children were 3 and 4 years old and again at age 10. Also at age 10 behavioural adjustment was measured using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Mother and child MST were highly stable from preschool to later childhood. Early maternal MST accounted for unique variance in later child MST and behavioural adjustment at 10 years of age; children whose mothers used more MST, specifically references to cognitions, when they were 3 or 4 experienced fewer behavioural difficulties (externalising behaviour) when they were 10 years old.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adjustment; iInternalising/externalising; theory of mind; parent-child communication Longitudinal Studies.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0712 Developmental psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Depositing User: Dr Amanda Carr
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 10:05
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2018 08:46
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17342

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00