Maternal attachment and mind-mindedness: the role of emotional specificity.Attach Hum Dev. 2015; 17(3):302-18.AH
We explored the relation between maternal mind-mindedness (i.e., a mother's tendency to verbally refer to her infant's mental world through use of infant-directed mental state terms) and maternal attachment. Mothers (N = 76), classified prenatally as Autonomous, Dismissing, Preoccupied, and Unresolved using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), simulated speaking to their 6-month-old infants in positive and negative emotion contexts. Mothers' utterances were coded for frequency of use of emotion and cognition-related mind-minded terms. Results indicated a significant negative relation between coherence of mind scores on the AAI and emotion mind-mindedness in the positive emotion context. When differences between insecure attachment categories and mind-mindedness were explored, results indicated that mothers with Preoccupied attachments were significantly more likely to use emotion-related terms than mothers with Dismissing attachments and that these differences were most pronounced in the negative emotion context. A similar pattern was found for mothers with Unresolved attachments compared to those with organized (Autonomous, Dismissing, Preoccupied) attachment classifications, however use of emotion mind-minded terms did not differ by emotional context. Future research directions highlighting the importance of exploring the unique contribution of Preoccupied, Dismissing and Unresolved attachment and emotional context in the exploration of mind-mindedness are discussed.