gmusic@nurturingnatures.co.uk

The positive in the negative

An interesting paper has just come out in the infant mental health journal [1] which looked at the language used by a group of substance abusing mothers. It showed that the children who did worse had mothers who used more positive emotion words. On the face of it this might seem counter-intuitive but scratching beneath the surface reveals why this is the case. What the researchers found was that of the mums, all of whom were methadone maintained, those who tended to use more positive emotion words were in fact avoidant of any negative emotions and tended to gloss over them. Very interestingly these mums were also the ones who scored lowest on the Parent Development Interview, a score that measures reflective functioning, and indeed lower reflective functioning also came with increased substance abuse and lower sensitivity to the child.

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