Demographics, Parenting, and Theory of Mind in Preschool Children

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This research examined associations among demographic variables, parenting strategies, and a theory of mind battery including measures of perception, desire, belief, and emotion understanding in 142 preschool-aged children. In correlational analyses, maternal education and, to a lesser extent, income were associated with a number of aspects of theory of mind. Additionally, mothers' use of instruction in response to child misbehavior was positively associated with perception and desire understanding whereas mothers' use of consequences and power assertion were negatively associated with aspects of theory of mind. In regression analyses controlling for children's cognitive ability and age, maternal education continued to be positively associated with perception understanding. Power assertion was negatively associated with belief understanding, but positively associated with emotion understanding. Finally, mothers' use of consequences in response to child misbehaviors was negatively related to emotion understanding.

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