Maternal Reminiscing during Middle Childhood: Associations with Infant and Child Temperament
The way that mothers engage in conversation with children about the past is associated with key developmental outcomes such as memory, language, and narrative skills, as well as emotional understanding (Fivush, 2019; Salmon & Reese, 2016; Waters et al., 2019; Wu & Jobson, 2019; Laible, 2004a). A small body of research has suggested that mothers may differ in elaborative style based on the temperament of their child (Bird et al., 2006; Laible, 2004a, 2011; Lewis, 1999). The present study explored how mother-child reminiscing related to child temperament and maternal demographic factors. It was hypothesised that mothers would be more elaborative with children who were higher in orienting/ regulatory capacity when younger. On the other hand, it was predicted that mothers would be less elaborative with children who were higher in positive emotionality and/ or negative emotionality. Maternal ethnicity and demographic factors were also hypothesised to predict reminiscing style. As a part of a broader cohort study called Growing Up in New Zealand (www.growingup.co.nz), 1,348 participants were randomly selected for this project. Maternal ethnicity and demographics were recorded antenatally. Temperament was measured during infancy (9-months) with the Infant Behaviour Questionnaire– Revised Very Short Form (IBQ-R-VSF) as well as in early childhood (54-months) with the Child Behaviour Questionnaire– Very Short Form (CBQ-VSF). Elaborative style was measured during a reminiscing conversation at age-8 using a revised version of the Elaborative Reminiscing Scale (Laible, 2004b; Leyva et al., 2020). During the reminiscing task, dyads were instructed to talk about a time that the child was injured, had a social disagreement, or felt disappointed. Results suggested that elaboration style was linked with temperament scores at 9- months, but not at 54-months. Specifically, mothers were less elaborative with children who were higher in positive emotionality/surgency during infancy. Maternal demographic factors including age, education, and culture were also identified as significant predictors of elaboration style. These results suggest that early temperament may predict parents’ later reminiscing styles, and future work is needed to explore the directionality of this relationship.
Advisor: Reese, Elaine
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: reminiscing; temperament; parent–child interaction; cohort; longitudinal
Research Type: Thesis