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

Journal article


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. https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12315
AuthorsCarr, A., Slade, L., Yuill, N., Sullivan, S. and Ruffman, T.
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.

KeywordsAdjustment; iInternalising/externalising; theory of mind; parent-child communication Longitudinal Studies.
Year2018
JournalSocial Development
PublisherWiley
ISSN0961-205X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12315
Publication dates
Print20 Jul 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Jun 2018
Accepted06 Jun 2018
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/88v13/minding-the-children-a-longitudinal-study-of-mental-state-talk-theory-of-mind-and-behavioural-adjustment-from-age-3-to-age-10

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