The Relation of Children's Mental State Talk to Family Characteristics and the Mental State Talk of Their Parents

Marina Kotrla Topić


The aim of this research was to investigate the correlations of
mental talk in children aged 17 to 37 months and some
family characteristics: the socio-economic status, parents'
education, the number of siblings and parents' mental talk.
The participants were 106 children and one of their parents.
We collected speech samples for children and their parents
to analyze their mental state talk about desires, thoughts and
emotions. Other data were collected from one of the parents
through a questionnaire. The results show that the parents of
children who had more mental state of desire talk, talked
more about desires and about thoughts as well, but not
about emotions. Furthermore, parents whose children had at
least one mental state of desire utterance talked significantly
more about desires and thoughts than parents whose
children had no such utterances. There were no significant
correlations between children's mental state talk about
desires and other family variables. The results point to the
importance of studying family characteristics in relation to
children's mental state talk, which is considered an indicator
of theory of mind development.


theory of mind; mental state talk; family background

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096