The role of maternal experience of childhood trauma, symptoms of depression, adult attachment style, and parental reflective functioning on preschool children's socio-emotional development and theory of mind in a chilean population
San Cristobal, Pamela
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship that maternal experience of early childhood trauma, symptoms of depression, adult attachment style, and parental reflective functioning has on their preschool child’s socio-emotional development and development of Theory of Mind, as these are parental variables often found to co-exist and/or affect one another, however the mechanisms through which they affect child’s development is still a subject of study. The participants of this study were 125 mother-child dyads who were part of the FONDECYT Project 1130786. Results from this study show that maternal symptoms of depression and lower parental reflective functioning significantly predicted a risk to their child’s socioemotional development. Interestingly, avoidant attachment style significantly predicted decreased levels of parental reflective functioning, whereas anxious attachment style, and childhood trauma significantly predicted maternal symptoms of depression. This particular study found that when differentiating between different types of trauma, the experience of sexual abuse during childhood significantly predicted maternal symptoms of depression and its indirect effect on the child’s socioemotional development was close to being statistically significant. Finally, this study sought to explore the mediator role of parental reflective functioning and found that both parental reflective functioning and symptoms of depression mediated the effect that childhood experience of trauma and insecure attachment styles had on children’s socioemotional development.