Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pillow, Bradford H.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


This dissertation examined difference in maternal mind-mindedness among American mothers, Taiwanese mothers, and mothers who emigrated from Taiwan and had their first child in the United States (Taiwanese Immigrant Mothers). It also investigated relationships between maternal mind-mindedness and mothers’ bonding with their parents during early years and their general mentalizing abilities for these three groups of mothers. One hundred twenty-three American mothers (Mage = 33.33 years old; SD = 5.31), 129 Taiwanese mothers (Mage = 35.93 years old; SD = 4.05), and 105 Taiwanese Immigrant Mothers (Mage = 36.85 years old; SD = 4.42) participated in this study online, through a survey. The age range of these mothers’ children was between 2 years old and 7 years old. The participants followed the instructions on the research sites to describe their children, complete the Parental bonding Instrument, and complete the Reflective Functioning Questionnaire. Mind-mindedness was operationally defined as the number of mothers’ use of mental attributes to describe their children. American mothers were found to have a higher level of mind-mindedness than Taiwanese mothers and Taiwanese Immigrant Mothers. However, when the numbers of nonmental attributes used by the mothers were considered, the differences in the numbers of mental attributes used by the mothers among these three groups were not significant. The relationship between the number of mental attributes and mothers’ early bonding with their parents was not significant for any of the three groups. The relationship between the number of mental attributes and reflective functioning was found positive for American mothers, while the same relationship was not significant for the other two groups. In addition, the relationship between the level of mind-mindedness and parental bonding and the relationship between mind-mindedness and reflective functioning were not significantly different among the three groups. These findings implied that maternal mind-mindedness could work differently among American mothers, Taiwanese mothers, and Taiwanese Immigrant Mothers.


178 pages




Northern Illinois University

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