Biased mentalizing in children aged seven to 11: Latent class confirmation of response styles to social scenarios and associations with psychopathology

Carla Sharp (Lead / Corresponding author), Tim J. Croudace, Ian M. Goodyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A new approach to the measurement of mentalizing is introduced. Instead of measuring the presence or absence of mentalizing capacity, the current study aimed at developing a mentalizing task that focuses on investigating biases in mentalizing through the use of ambiguous peer-related social scenarios. The response consistency of 659 children was investigated in a community sample of children aged seven to 11. Confirmatory latent class analysis allocated children to three groups on the basis of their responses: an overly positive style (OP), a rational/neutral style (R) or an overly negative style (ON). Children classed as OP showed a greater likelihood of being above cut-off on a population screen for externalizing disorder. Over a two-year follow-up period, the children who were classified as R were most likely to remain so whereas the OP and ON children were found to change group. The results are discussed in the context of social-cognitive research in this age group. Further studies should examine the external validity of the mentalizing task because the results reported here concern only internal construct validity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-202
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Development
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2007

Keywords

  • Externalizing disorder
  • Latent class analysis
  • Mentalizing
  • Social cognition

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