The role of paternal mind‐mindedness in
preschoolers' self‐regulated conduct
Catherine A. McMahon
Department of Psychology, University of
Montreal, Montreal, Canada
Department of Psychology, Macquarie
University, Sydney, Australia
Annie Bernier, Department of Psychology,
University of Montreal, P.O. Box 6128
Downtown Station, Montreal, QC H3C 3J7,
Fonds de Recherche du Québec—Société et
Culture, Grant/Award Number: 2012-RP-
144923; Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council of Canada, Grant/Award
Number: 410‐2010‐1366; Canadian Institutes
of Health Research, Grant/Award Number:
This study examined the prospective links between paternal mind‐
mindedness (MM) and 2 indices of preschoolers' self‐regulated con-
duct, namely, inhibitory control and rule‐compatible conduct.
Ninety‐two families (47 boys) participated in 2 assessments. Paternal
MM was assessed with a 10‐min father–child free‐play session when
children were aged 18 months. Children's rule‐compatible conduct
was reported by mothers when children reached 3 years of age,
and inhibitory control was measured with a Snack Delay task, also
administered at 3 years. The results suggested that after accounting
for the contribution of child temperament (social fearfulness),
paternal MM was positively related to children's inhibitory control.
In contrast, the relation between paternal MM and mother‐reported
rule‐compatible conduct was not significant. The results are
interpreted in light of the mechanisms that may account for the links
between paternal MM and preschoolers' emerging capacity to
voluntarily control their behaviour.
• This study examines the prospective links between paternal
mind-mindedness and two indices of preschoolers' subsequent
• Paternal mind‐mindedness was assessed with father‐child free‐
play, and self‐regulated conduct with an inhibitory control task
and a mother questionnaire.
• The results suggest that paternal mind‐mindedness is positively
related to children's inhibitory control.
inhibitory control, paternal mind‐mindedness, rule‐compatible
conduct, self‐regulated conduct
This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP‐119390), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada (410‐2010‐1366), and Fonds de Recherche du Québec—Société et Culture (2012‐RP‐144923).
Received: 22 June 2016 Revised: 28 August 2017 Accepted: 25 November 2017
Inf Child Dev. 2018;27:e2081.
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