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Development and Preliminary Evaluation of Family Minds: A Mentalization-based Psychoeducation Program for Foster Parents

Adkins, T; Luyten, P; Fonagy, P; (2018) Development and Preliminary Evaluation of Family Minds: A Mentalization-based Psychoeducation Program for Foster Parents. Journal of Child and Family Studies , 27 (8) pp. 2519-2532. 10.1007/s10826-018-1080-x. Green open access

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Abstract

Mentalization-based interventions show promise in improving mental health outcomes for children and parents through increasing a family's reflective functioning, or ability to mentalize. Mentalizing involves the ability to understand behavior in relation to mental states, such as thoughts and feelings, and typically develops within the context of secure attachment relationships. One area not given much consideration when training foster parents is their capacity to mentalize. This study evaluated Family Minds, a newly developed psychoeducational intervention for foster parents, designed to increase their ability to mentalize. The current paper reports on the development and preliminary empirical evaluation of Family Minds in a quasi-experimental study where 102 foster parents received either Family Minds or a typical foster parenting class, which served as a control group. Results indicate that parents who received Family Minds significantly increased their levels of reflective functioning as assessed with the Parental Reflective Functioning Questionnaire and a new Five-Minute Speech Sample procedure coded using the Reflective Functioning Scale, and revealed a tendency to show decreased levels of parenting stress on the Parenting Stress Index, while the control group showed no such improvements. These findings support the hypothesis that a short-term psychoeducational intervention may improve foster parents' ability to mentalize themselves and their children. These skills are very beneficial for foster parents, as they frequently deal with children who come into their home with challenging behaviors, attachment issues, and negative internal working models of relationships. This type of intervention has the potential to lower placement breakdowns and improve the mental health of foster children.

Type: Article
Title: Development and Preliminary Evaluation of Family Minds: A Mentalization-based Psychoeducation Program for Foster Parents
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10826-018-1080-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1080-x
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: Mentalization, Reflective functioning, Foster parents, Psychoeducation, Child welfare
UCL classification: UCL
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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045585
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