Primary headache (PH) is a common somatic disorder in childhood with a strong impact in terms of quality of life. There are several risk factors related to the development of this disorder including environmental factors as attachment bonds. However, studies in this direction are relatively few and have often used self-report or semi-projective measures looking at the only maternal attachment. Moreover, several studies have shown a link between somatoform pains and mentalizing abilities, but the relation between mentalizing and PH in childhood is unexplored. Therefore, this study aims at exploring attachment bonds, focusing on both maternal and paternal representations and mentalizing abilities in early adolescents with and without PH within a cross-sectional case-controlled design. A sample of 94 early adolescents aged 10–14 years (47 with PH and 47 without PH as a comparison group) completed the Child Attachment Interview to assess attachment representations to caregivers. Mentalizing abilities were assessed applying to the interviews in the Child and Adolescent Reflective Functioning Scale. PH adolescents showed a greater percentage of insecure-preoccupied attachment to both parents, with higher level of preoccupied anger especially to father than the comparison group (p values from 0.000 to 0.014, effect size values from.31 to.45), while no differences emerged about mentalizing (p values from.264 to 0.312). The over-representation of insecure–preoccupied attachment to both parents suggests a key role of parent–child interaction in early adolescents with PH, while the role of mentalizing abilities remains controversial and further studies are needed to address this issue. Clinical implications are discussed.

Attachment representation to caregivers and mentalizing ability in early adolescents with primary headache

Bizzi F.;Charpentier Mora S.;Cavanna D.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Primary headache (PH) is a common somatic disorder in childhood with a strong impact in terms of quality of life. There are several risk factors related to the development of this disorder including environmental factors as attachment bonds. However, studies in this direction are relatively few and have often used self-report or semi-projective measures looking at the only maternal attachment. Moreover, several studies have shown a link between somatoform pains and mentalizing abilities, but the relation between mentalizing and PH in childhood is unexplored. Therefore, this study aims at exploring attachment bonds, focusing on both maternal and paternal representations and mentalizing abilities in early adolescents with and without PH within a cross-sectional case-controlled design. A sample of 94 early adolescents aged 10–14 years (47 with PH and 47 without PH as a comparison group) completed the Child Attachment Interview to assess attachment representations to caregivers. Mentalizing abilities were assessed applying to the interviews in the Child and Adolescent Reflective Functioning Scale. PH adolescents showed a greater percentage of insecure-preoccupied attachment to both parents, with higher level of preoccupied anger especially to father than the comparison group (p values from 0.000 to 0.014, effect size values from.31 to.45), while no differences emerged about mentalizing (p values from.264 to 0.312). The over-representation of insecure–preoccupied attachment to both parents suggests a key role of parent–child interaction in early adolescents with PH, while the role of mentalizing abilities remains controversial and further studies are needed to address this issue. Clinical implications are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1040841
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