Within an attachment and mentalizing perspective (Bateman & Fonagy, 2019), experiencing rejection during childhood might be considered an impactful risk factor to develop an insecure attachment and impairments in mentalizing. Early traumatic experiences may determine a greater likelihood of developing insecure attachments also in transgender population (Lingiardi et al., 2017; Vitelli & Riccardi, 2010). According to Lemma (2012, 2013), transgender people are exposed to critical situation due to their experience of gender incongruence, as well as their parents may present difficulties in mirroring the mental states of their children related to such incongruence. This might lead to an unbearable feeling of ‘not be seen’ that may contribute in developing problems in mentalizing. No previous studies have empirically assessed mentalization (i.e., reflective functioning; RF) in transgender people. The current study was aimed at assessing RF in a group of transgender people, relating RF to the participants’ attachment styles and deepening an aspect of the transgender phenomenology, i.e. the failure of being mirrored by the attachment figures. Twenty-eight Adult Attachment Interviews (AAI) previously coded with regard to the attachment styles were analyzed through the Reflective Functioning Scale. Furthermore, a qualitative analysis of the AAIs was performed in order to identify different qualities of the mirroring process. Findings showed that most sample presented a Low RF (67.9%) and that securely attachment individuals showed a higher RF. Furthermore, three different qualities of mirroring emerged: suppressing, avoiding, and pretending the gender incongruity. Overall, three RF developmental trajectories emerged, based on the attachment security, the ‘selectivity’ of the mirroring process, the one or both parents’ mirroring abilities, and the presence of significant others. Theoretical, clinical, and methodological implications of these findings are discussed.

Assessment of mentalization and qualities of parental mirroring: an empirical study with transgender people

Esposito Giovanna
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Vitelli Roberto
Methodology
;
Valerio Paolo
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Freda Maria Francesca
Project Administration
2019

Abstract

Within an attachment and mentalizing perspective (Bateman & Fonagy, 2019), experiencing rejection during childhood might be considered an impactful risk factor to develop an insecure attachment and impairments in mentalizing. Early traumatic experiences may determine a greater likelihood of developing insecure attachments also in transgender population (Lingiardi et al., 2017; Vitelli & Riccardi, 2010). According to Lemma (2012, 2013), transgender people are exposed to critical situation due to their experience of gender incongruence, as well as their parents may present difficulties in mirroring the mental states of their children related to such incongruence. This might lead to an unbearable feeling of ‘not be seen’ that may contribute in developing problems in mentalizing. No previous studies have empirically assessed mentalization (i.e., reflective functioning; RF) in transgender people. The current study was aimed at assessing RF in a group of transgender people, relating RF to the participants’ attachment styles and deepening an aspect of the transgender phenomenology, i.e. the failure of being mirrored by the attachment figures. Twenty-eight Adult Attachment Interviews (AAI) previously coded with regard to the attachment styles were analyzed through the Reflective Functioning Scale. Furthermore, a qualitative analysis of the AAIs was performed in order to identify different qualities of the mirroring process. Findings showed that most sample presented a Low RF (67.9%) and that securely attachment individuals showed a higher RF. Furthermore, three different qualities of mirroring emerged: suppressing, avoiding, and pretending the gender incongruity. Overall, three RF developmental trajectories emerged, based on the attachment security, the ‘selectivity’ of the mirroring process, the one or both parents’ mirroring abilities, and the presence of significant others. Theoretical, clinical, and methodological implications of these findings are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/767376
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