Cross-cultural comparison of maternal mind-mindedness among Australian and Chinese mothers

Qian Dai, Catherine McMahon*, Ai Keow Lim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Evidence suggests that parental mind-mindedness is important for children’s social-emotional development; however, almost all research exploring mind-mindedness has been conducted with families from Western backgrounds. The current study explored cross-cultural differences in mind-mindedness based on observed real-time interactions between urban Australian (N = 50, Mage = 30.34 years, SD = 3.14) and urban mainland Chinese (N = 50, Mage = 29.18 years, SD = 4.14) mothers and their toddlers (Australian: Mage = 18.98 months, SD = 0.87; Chinese: Mage = 18.50 months, SD = 2.25). Controlling for education, the Australian mothers used a higher proportion of appropriate mind-related comments and were less likely to use non-attuned mind-related comments than their Chinese counterparts, adjusting for total number of comments. Transcript analysis showed that the Australian mothers used more mental state terms referring to desires and preferences than Chinese mothers. Findings are discussed in relation to cultural influences in child-rearing goals, beliefs, and values and the need for cross-cultural validation of the mind-mindedness construct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-370
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • cross-cultural comparison
  • maternal mind-mindedness
  • Chinese
  • Australian


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