The research involved 20 mother-child dyads at risk for maltreatment with the purpose to evaluate the impact of maternal Hostile/Helpless states of mind upon the quality of interactive patterns. The mothers were assessed through the AAI and the hostile/helpless state of mind coding systems (HH); furthermore, dyadic exchanges were observed and videorecorded. Results highlight mainly insecure (55%) and disorganized (35%) models of attachment. 40% of mothers have an HH state of mind; these mothers showed higher difficulties in the relation with their child (t = 2,71; p < 0,01) and more negative affects (t = 2,68; p < 0,01). Data confirm that hostile/helpless states influence the quality of dyadic interaction, thus showing important implications related to abusive parenting.
Keywords: Child maltreatment, traumatic experiences, attachment, dyadic interaction