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Assessing Expressed Emotion in parents in association with children’s social competence, language ability and their understanding of others

Wilson, Ruth (2011) Assessing Expressed Emotion in parents in association with children’s social competence, language ability and their understanding of others. University of Cambridge.

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Abstract

The study investigates associations between 1) theory of mind and language 2) theory of mind and social competence and 3) the relationship between these variables and expressed emotion, in 24 typically developing preschoolers and 23 children with autism. Experimental theory-of-mind tasks were administered to the children, along with the parents participating in an open-ended interview and completing a mentalising and executive functioning social competence scale questionnaire measure. For the children with autism findings suggest that theory of mind may only be related to mentalistic social competencies in everyday life and yet is related to a much broader measure of symptom severities. The strength of these associations was significantly reduced when language ability was held constant. These results were not found for the typically developing children. Finally no relationship was found in either group between levels of expressed emotion and theory of mind, social competence and language ability. Reasons for these null findings are discussed.

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