Date of Degree

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Arietta Slade

Committee Members

Elliot L. Jurist

Lois S. Sadler

Steven B. Tuber

Lissa Weinstein

Subject Categories

Psychology

Abstract

The present study investigates the impact of "Minding the Baby," a home-based intervention program, on maternal reflective functioning (RF). It was hypothesized that the reflective capacity of mothers who received the MTB intervention would increase over the course of the study, and that this increase would be reflected in the quality of their responses to clinical interviews administered before and after birth. The guiding premise of the intervention was that helping mothers develop a reflective stance would enable them to become more regulating, sensitive, and autonomy-promoting caregivers and thus positively affect a range of developmental outcomes in their infants.

The participants were 21 first-time mothers between the ages of 15 and 25, all of whom were at high risk for parenting difficulties due to environmental, financial, and social stressors. The mothers were interviewed using the Pregnancy Interview (Revised Version, Slade, 2007) during their third trimester. They were given the Parent Development Interview (Aber, Slade, Berger, Bresgi, & Kaplan, 1985) when their child was approximately 24 months old. The Addendum to the Reflective Functioning Scoring Manual for use with the Parent Development Interview (Slade, Bernbach, Grienenberger, Levy, & Locker, 2004) was used to determine the level of maternal RF at the end of the intervention. In order to measure maternal RF levels at the beginning of the intervention, an Addendum to the Reflective Functioning Scoring Manual for use with the Pregnancy Interview was refined and updated (Slade, Paterson, & Miller, 2007), making it the first relatively reliable instrument for assessing reflective functioning in pregnancy.

Results supported the study's main hypothesis: The mothers' mean overall RF score increased from before to after the intervention, and the difference between the pre- and post-intervention means was statistically significant. These results are discussed in relation to implications for early intervention, developmental theory, and clinical treatment.

Comments

Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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Psychology Commons

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