Do educators matter? Associations between caregivers’ mentalization and preschoolers’ attachment, social emotional development and theory of mind

Cecil Mata López*, María Pía Santelices Álvarez, Alvaro Vergés Gómez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Caregivers’ mentalization has gained importance in recent years, but most studies only include parental figures. Given empirical evidence showing the importance of educators in the development of preschoolers, this paper aims to assess how the mentalization and stress levels of parents and educational staff are related to attachment, ToM and social emotional development of children aged 3–4 years (M = 44.69 months, SD = 3.68, Gender = 53% girls) who attend preschool. A total of 146 preschoolers, their parents and 18 teachers are included in the sample. The results show higher levels of mentalization in educational staff compared to parents and positive relationship between the mentalization of both adults and ToM development in preschoolers. It was found a greater predictive weight of educational staff mentalization but this relation was mediated by family caregivers’ mentalization and its contribution loses strength in those cases where the parent shows low mentalization level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-247
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Volume192
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Mentalization
  • non-family caregivers
  • parents
  • preschool
  • ToM

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