Milot T, Lorent A, St-Laurent D, Bernier A, Tarabulsy GM, Lemelin J-P, Ethier L. (2014). Hostile-Helpless state of mind as further evidence of adult disorganized states of mind in neglecting families. Child Abuse and Neglect. 38(8): 1351-1357.
This study aimed to assess disorganized states of mind in a sample of neglecting and at-risk of neglecting mothers using the recently developed Hostile-Helpless (HH) coding system (Lyons-Ruth et al., 2006) for the Adult Attachment Interview (Main & Goldwyn, 1998). The relation between HH states of mind and mothers’ childhood traumas was also examined. Participants were 70 neglecting mothers and at-risk of neglecting mothers. Childhood traumas were assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. HH states of mind werecoded from Adult Attachment Interview transcripts by two reliable coders. Results revealeda high prevalence of disorganized states of mind in this sample. Forty-five mothers wereclassified HH, representing 64% of the entire sample. Most mothers reported at least one form of childhood trauma, with a mean of 2.9 different forms of trauma. Mothers classified HH reported having been emotionally abused, sexually abused and physically neglected more frequently than non-HH mothers. There was no difference between neglecting and at-risk of neglect mothers on HH states of mind and childhood experiences of trauma.These findings are in line with theorization on maltreating mothers’ psychological back-ground and they provide further empirical support to the validation of the HH classification system with at-risk populations.