A deeper look at the association between childhood maltreatment and reflective functioning


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Garon-Bissonnette, J., Dubois-Comtois, K., St-Laurent, D. et Berthelot, N. (2023). A deeper look at the association between childhood maltreatment and reflective functioning. Attachment and Human Development . ISSN 1461-6734 DOI 10.1080/14616734.2023.2207558

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Childhood maltreatment is theorized as impeding the development of reflective functioning (RF; ability to perceive and interpret oneself and others in terms of mental states). However, previous research typically failed to support this association or yielded small sized and mixed associations. This study aims to provide a deeper look at the association between childhood maltreatment and RF by characterizing two non-mentalizing categories. One-hundred-and-sixteen pregnant women (mean age = 27.62, SD = 4.52) from the community (48.3% with a university degree, 96.5% in a relationship with the other parent) retrospectively reported on childhood abuse and neglect using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. They also participated in the Adult Attachment Interview subsequently coded using the Reflective Functioning Scale. Participants with poor to low RF were allocated to one of two groups (disavowal-distancing or distorted-inconsistent) using indicators provided in the RF Scale. No association was found between childhood maltreatment and overall RF when controlling for education level. A multinomial logistic regression revealed that childhood maltreatment was strongly predictive of a disrupted, over-analytical and inconsistent reflection about mental states but not of a tendency to discourse little about mental states. This tendency was rather only predicted by education level. Findings suggest that childhood maltreatment would lead to specific impairments in RF and that not considering how individuals fail to mentalize about attachment relationships may mask strong associations between RF and its determinants and correlates, including childhood maltreatment.

Type de document: Article
Mots-clés libres: Adult Attachment Interview Childhood trauma Mentalization Pregnancy Reflective function
Date de dépôt: 31 juill. 2023 12:36
Dernière modification: 31 juill. 2023 12:36
Version du document déposé: Version officielle de l'éditeur
URI: https://depot-e.uqtr.ca/id/eprint/10785

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