Parent-Child Reminiscing About Emotional Events in Middle Childhood and Children’s Well-Being in a Longitudinal Cohort Study
Converging evidence has highlighted the many benefits of engaging in emotional talk about the past for children’s socioemotional development. However, previous literature has primarily focused on preschool children, within small samples of Western-European participants. The present study sought to fill this literature gap, examining the relationship between preadolescent children’s behaviour and maternal reminiscing style within a large, socio-demographically diverse sample. A subset of 1406 participants was randomly selected from the longitudinal study Growing Up in New Zealand’s 8-year data collection wave. Mother-child reminiscing conversations about past negative events were coded, and analyses were run with children’s Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) scores at 24-months, 54-months and 8-years. Overall, children’s SDQ scores were negatively associated with maternal elaboration at all three time points. Children experiencing fewer behavioural problems had mothers who reminisced more elaboratively with them, even after controlling for sociodemographic variables. Results did not reveal any child gender differences in maternal reminiscing style; however cultural variations to this pattern were present. Notably, mothers who self-prioritised their ethnicity as Asian were less elaborative than non-Asian mothers. Moreover, the correlation between children’s total difficulties and maternal elaboration scores was weaker for Asian mothers than non-Asian mothers. Thus, indicating that for Asian families the bidirectional influence of children’s behaviour and maternal elaboration may not be as strong as for non-Asian families. Results suggest the importance of cultural context in determining the role of emotional reminiscing for children’s socioemotional development. At present, little research has explored the association between preadolescents’ behaviour and emotional reminiscing. Thus, the current study makes a much-needed contribution to the field.
Advisor: Reese, Elaine
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: New Zealand; cohort; longitudinal; reminiscing; SDQ
Research Type: Thesis