Continuity in mind-mindedness from pregnancy to the first year of life

  • Arnott B
  • Meins E
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Abstract

Relations between parents' representations of the unborn child and postpartum infant-parent interaction were investigated in 25 couples and 3 solo mothers. In the last trimester of pregnancy, participants reported on involvement with the fetus and predicted what the unborn child would be like at age 6 months. Mothers (n = 21) and fathers (n = 17) were observed during separate interactions with their 6-month olds, which yielded measures of their tendency appropriately to interpret their infants' internal states (mind-mindedness). Parents' involvement with the fetus was unrelated to antenatal predictions and to postnatal mind-mindedness. Parents who had predicted more about the unborn child's characteristics were more likely to comment appropriately on their infants' internal states during infant-parent interaction. For fathers, overall antenatal predictions were also positively associated with misinterpretations of their infants' thoughts and feelings. Findings are discussed with reference to mind-mindedness being governed by caregiver-centered factors and differences between mothers and fathers in caregiving practices. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Antenatal
  • Attachment
  • Infant-parent interaction
  • Mind-mindedness

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Authors

  • Bronia Arnott

  • Elizabeth Meins

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