Parental Mental State Talk and Associations with Children’s Mentalizing Ability in Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
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The current project investigated the relationship between parental mental state talk and their child's use of mentalizing language, in both children with typical development (TD) and children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants included 40 parent-child dyads (20 ASD, 20 TD), and measured spontaneous/unprompted mentalizing tendencies in both parents and children using the Mind-Mindedness task and Triangles task, respectively. Results suggest that average amount of child mentalizing statements is not significantly associated with average parental mental state talk, and the relationship is not moderated by group status (ASD/TD). Though the current study rendered no significant associations, the links between parental and child mental state use in later childhood years, especially in the context of developmental disorders, represents a key area of exploration for future research.