Francesca Bellagamba, Rosalinda Cassibba

Attachment security and mental references in written stories in school-age children

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Mental state reference, security of attachment, written narratives, middle childhood, theory of mind

The ability to use mental terms to describe the psychology of fictional characters can be seen as a window into the child's theory of mind. Securely attached children may be more advanced in their socio-cognitive skills when reasoning about mental states than their insecure agemates. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relation between the ability to refer to mental states when writing fantasy stories, and security of child-mother relationship. 102 Italian-speaking children of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade participated in the study. Children filled out a self-report measure of attachment security and were asked to write a story with a minimal prompt. All stories were analysed for references to mental states. Results showed the influence of grade level, type of prompt and style of attachment on children's production of mental state references.

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