Reflective functioning of refugee mothers with children born of conflict-related sexual violence
SourceInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, 8, (2020), article 2873
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
The ability of a parent to step back from their own experiences in order to understand those of their child, reflective functioning (RF), can be impacted by myriad factors. We explored RF among refugee mothers in the context of having a child born of sexual violence (CBSV). A sample of 10 mothers now residing in the Netherlands, both with (n = 5) and without (n = 5) a CBSV, were interviewed, seeking to explore parents' representations of their children, themselves as parents, and their relationship with their children. After deriving a score of RF, interview narratives were qualitatively analyzed using thematic analysis. An ordinary level of reflective functioning was identified in this sample overall (average score 4.5); which was reduced in the group with CBSV (average score 3.0). Trends within the qualitative analyses indicated that emotion regulation and ambivalence as well as parenting challenges are factors that affect RF capabilities for mothers with CBSV. Wider findings show that the asylum process and mental well-being also impinge on RF capabilities. Experiences of having a CBSV as well as those pertaining to being a refugee appear to interact and impact reflective functioning for some mothers. Further investigation would add weight to this pilot data.
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