Repetitive thinking about the mother during distress moderates the link between children's attentional breadth around the mother and depressive symptoms in middle childhood
It has been suggested that an increased attentional focus on the mother should be maladaptive in middle childhood. However, the effect of a more narrow attentional field around the mother may depend on the mother-child relationship. The current study tested whether a more narrow attentional field around the mother is mainly maladaptive for children who tend to think repetitively about their mother (RTm) during distress. More specifically, it investigates whether RTm during distress provides the context in which an increased attentional focus on the mother is linked to depressive symptoms in middle childhood. RTm was measured using a self-report questionnaire. The breadth of children's attentional field around the mother was measured with the Attentional Breadth Task. This computer task assesses the extent to which children have a more narrow attentional field around the mother compared to unfamiliar women. Results of the current study (N = 157) support the hypothesis that 9-12 year old children who have a more narrow attentional field around the mother and who at the same time report more RTm during distress, have more depressive symptoms.
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