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Intergenerational Pathways From Reflective Functioning to Infant Attachment Through Parenting

Ensink, K; Normandin, L; Plamondon, A; Berthelot, N; Fonagy, P; (2016) Intergenerational Pathways From Reflective Functioning to Infant Attachment Through Parenting. Canadian Journal Of Behavioural Science / Revue Canadienne des Sciences du Comportement , 48 (1) pp. 9-18. 10.1037/cbs0000030. Green open access

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Abstract

The aim of this prospective study was to examine temporal pathways from mothers’ reflective functioning (RF) through parenting to infant attachment measured more than 16 months later. Participants were 88 mother–infant dyads from demographically diverse backgrounds and included a group of mothers with histories of childhood maltreatment. RF was assessed using the RF rating of the Adult Attachment Interview before the birth of the baby. Parenting was assessed when the infants were 6 months old using the Maternal Sensitivity scale, as well as when they were 16 months using the Disconnected and Extremely Insensitive Parenting scale. Infant attachment was assessed when the infants were 16 months old using the Strange Situation. As hypothesised, the study findings showed that mothers’ mentalization regarding their own early attachment relationships was associated with later parenting and infant attachment. Negative parenting behaviours explained the link between mothers’ RF about their own attachment relationships and infant attachment disorganization. The findings suggest that mothers’ mentalization about their early attachment relationships has important implications in the transition to becoming parents themselves. Mentalization appears to be particularly important in helping mothers screen and inhibit negative parenting behaviours that would otherwise undermine infant attachment security and organization.

Type: Article
Title: Intergenerational Pathways From Reflective Functioning to Infant Attachment Through Parenting
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/cbs0000030
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cbs0000030
Language: English
Additional information: © Copyright 2016 Canadian Psychological Association. All rights reserved. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the CPA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Keywords: Reflective functioning, Mentalization, Maternal sensitivity, Parenting, Infant attachment
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/1471599
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