Mothers' thoughts about their children: Links between mind-mindedness and emotional availability

Sarah Mary Lok, Catherine Anne McMahon*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Maternal mind-mindedness (MM) and emotional availability (EA) were examined in 89 middle-class mothers and their 4-year-old children. Each mother-child dyad was videotaped in their home during a 20-minute play interaction and aspects of EA (sensitivity, structuring, intrusiveness, and hostility) were assessed using the EA scales (Biringen, Robinson, & Emde, 1998). Meins, Fernyhough, Russell, and Clark-Carter's (1998) maternal interview was used to measure MM and the proportion of mental comments was calculated. Mothers who used a higher proportion of mental comments tended to demonstrate less hostility during interaction with their child. The findings are discussed in relation to the need to consider other interactional variables, in addition to maternal sensitivity, when examining how parental representations are transmitted to children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)477-488
    Number of pages12
    JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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