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Parental reflective functioning as a moderator of child internalizing difficulties in the context of child sexual abuse

Ensink, K; Bégin, M; Normandin, L; Fonagy, P; (2017) Parental reflective functioning as a moderator of child internalizing difficulties in the context of child sexual abuse. Psychiatry Research , 257 pp. 361-366. 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.07.051. Green open access

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Abstract

The objective was to examine pathways from child sexual abuse (CSA) and maternal mentalizing to child internalizing and externalizing difficulties and to test models of MRF as moderator of the relationships between CSA and child difficulties. The sample was comprised of 154 mothers and children aged 2–12 where 64 children had experienced CSA. To assess parental mentalizing the Parental Development Interview was rated with the Parental Reflective Functioning Scale. Child internalizing and externalizing difficulties were assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Results indicate that there were significant inverse relationships between maternal mentalizing and child internalizing and externalizing difficulties. When maternal mentalizing was considered together with CSA, only maternal mentalizing was a significant predictor of child difficulties. Furthermore, maternal mentalizing moderated the relationship between CSA and child internalizing difficulties. These findings provide evidence of the importance of the parents’ mentalizing stance for psychiatric symptoms of children aged 2–12, as well as children’s recovery from CSA. The clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Parental reflective functioning as a moderator of child internalizing difficulties in the context of child sexual abuse
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.07.051
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2017.07.051
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Maternal reflective functioning, Mentalizing, Child sexual abuse, Internalizing difficulties, Externalizing difficulties
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1566943
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