SYNOPSIS: Objective. Mothers with psychiatric diagnoses have been found to be generally less responsive and sensitive when interacting with their children, but studies of the quality of their dialogues with their children have not been conducted. Such dialogues are associated with children’s coherent representations of their experiences, which promote resilience and coping. Design. The present study focused on mothers with a diagnosis of anxiety (n = 23), depression (n = 23), or anorexia nervosa (n = 20) and mothers without any diagnosis (n = 21) and examined their dialogues with their children regarding children’s emotional experiences using the Autobiographical Emotional Events Dialogues procedure. Results. Maternal diagnosis of depression and anorexia nervosa were associated with distinct, non-matched emotion dialogues, whereas the emotion dialogues of mothers with anxiety were not different from those of non-diagnosed mothers. Children in all three diagnostic groups showed less cooperation and coherence during the dialogues about their emotions compared to the children of the mothers in the non-clinical group. Conclusions. Maternal psychopathology may affect the mother-child dyad’s capacity for recalling, describing, and co-constructing emotion-laden narratives.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology