English summaries

English Summaries (05/2021)

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Saara Salo, Johanna Sourander, Jari Lipsanen, Marjukka Pajulo & Mirjam Kalland

Fathers’ and mothers’ parental reflective functioning: A follow-up study from pregnancy to two years

Parental reflective functioning has been associated with good parenting skills and secure attachment. However, there are very few follow-up studies from pregnancy into toddlerhood that also separately consider mothers and fathers. In this study we followed parental reflective functioning and its associations with parental well-being (i.e., parenting stress and depressive symptoms), parent’s age, as well as relationship status from pregnancy to three months, and 1 and 2 years of age. The subjects were first-time parents (N=1016 parents in the baseline) who participated in the Families First follow-up study over two years. The mea-sures used were standardized questionnaires. The statistical analyses used were mixed linear models. The results showed an increase in the level of parental reflective functioning from pre- to post-natal period among both mothers and fathers, which remained rather stable up to two years. Mothers’ reflective functioning was higher than fathers’ prenatally and at three months, after which levels grew more similar. Parenting stress was inversely related to parental reflective functioning when babies were three months, 1 and 2 years old, but the association was less strong after infancy. This association was altogether stronger for fathers than for mothers. Parental depressive symptoms (vs. no symptoms) was not, however, related to parental reflective functioning. In early preventive family interventions supporting parental reflective functioning during pregnancy and early infancy seems relevant. Furthermore, all parents would benefit from support to alleviate parenting stress in infancy.

Keywords: parental reflective functioning, transition into parenthood, Finnish first-time parents, parenting stress, depressive symptoms

Markku Vanttaja & Hanna Nori

“Imposters” in doctoral education

The study examines which factors in the background of doctoral students are related to experiences of imposter syndrome and to what extent. Theoretically, we interpret imposter syndrome as a phenomenon related to the habitus formed through an individual’s life experiences and the internal speech associated. We answer these questions on the basis of a survey of Finnish doctoral students conducted in 2015 (= 1694). The themes of the survey were related to, among other things, the childhood home and parents of doctoral students, the motives for applying to study, and experiences of one’s own ability and success in doctoral studies. In the analysis of the data, we utilised stepwise linear regression analysis. Based on the results, the lack of encouragement in childhood and a low level of planning when applying for doctoral studies explain the emergence of the imposter syndrome in a statistically significant way. According to our study, the roots of imposter syndrome often reach back to the early stages of life, when the individual’s inner speech and habitus gradually begins to build.

Keywords: doctoral education, higher education policy, social background, habitus, inner speech, imposter syndrome

Henni Turkulainen, Soila Porkamaa, Kirsi Honkalampi, Niko Flink, Sari Lindeman & Virpi Leppänen 

Schema modes and their associations to borderline personality disorder symptoms

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between diagnostic symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) evaluated by a clinician and the patient’s own schema mode self-assessment. The data used in the present study consisted of 61 respondents that have severe BPD. The BPD symptoms were mea-sured by clinical interview and schema modes were measured by self-assessment. The majority (85.2%) of the respondents were women. The respondents’ mean age was 32.2 years. The associations between variables (BPD symptoms and schema modes) were examined using the Pearson correlation coefficient. The severity of the BPD symptoms related to schema modes were examined with linear regression analysis.

The degree of explanation of the regression analysis varied (17.4–45.7%), so the intensity of the BPD symptoms was explained relatively well by the schema modes. The most important associations between BPD symptoms and schema modes were shown in vulnerable child mode, angry child mode, compliant surrender, detached protector and punitive parent. The severity of the symptoms was explained mostly by child modes (mainly angry child) and maladaptive coping strategies (mainly detached protector), and also by punitive parent mode. The results on schema modes as well as BPD symptoms and connections were consistent with schema therapy theory and previous studies. The present study adds to understanding of BPD symptoms and schema therapy constructs, which will help treatment and its planning for patients with BPD. The study found a similarity between patient self-assessment of schema modes and clinician assessment of BPD symptoms, which is beneficial in the diagnosis and assessment of BPD.

Keywords: borderline personality disorder, borderline personality disorder symptoms, schema therapy, schema modes