Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorReese, Elaine
dc.contributor.advisorMcAnally, Helena
dc.contributor.authorMacfarlane, Lucy Rose
dc.identifier.citationMacfarlane, L. R. (2014). Explaining variation in adolescent wellbeing: The roles of personality, preadolescence, and past event talk (Thesis, Master of Science). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractAutobiographical narratives, or the way we understand our personal histories, are important both for the construction of a unique identity and for the experience of wellbeing. Parents are the primary agents through which autobiographical socialisation occurs, and children and their parents talk about events in the past from early in development. As children enter the adolescent developmental period, the establishment of a mature sense of self becomes a central task, and at the same time their experience of wellbeing declines. The present study aimed, therefore, to identify areas of autobiographical socialisation that were associated with longitudinal wellbeing scores between preadolescence and mid-adolescence. In addition, measures of adolescent personality were included, as previous research has shown that personality is related to both the way parents talk to their children, and to individual wellbeing. Data was collected as part of a larger study of children’s language and memory development, which began when the children were 19 months of age. At the preadolescent timepoint, parent-child conversations about positive and negative events were recorded, and coded for elaborated information and the frequency of positive and negative emotion talk. Children’s independent high and low point event narratives were coded for contextual, chronological, and thematic coherence using the Narrative Coherence Coding Scheme. At both the preadolescent and adolescent timepoints, self-esteem, prosocial behaviour, and total difficulties were measured. During adolescence, depression was also measured and adolescents completed the Big Five Inventory of personality. Correlations between parent-child conversation variables, preadolescent narratives, wellbeing, and personality were explored, and models for the explanation of variance in wellbeing scores during adolescence were calculated. For each measure of wellbeing, personality dimensions explained the majority of the differences in individual scores in theoretically consistent ways. However, mothers’ talk about negative emotion with their children in the context of negative events accounted for variance in adolescents’ total difficulties, above that described by personality (neuroticism). For those children whose mothers’ negative emotion talk was more frequent, lower levels of difficulty were observed. Together, these findings suggest that parent narrative interventions tailored toward instruction in negative emotion talk may be of benefit for those children for whom negative affect is more likely. Parent narrative interventions have shown efficacy for children’s earlier narrative and emotion understanding capabilities in past research, and the possibility that this could be extended to wellbeing during the dynamic period of adolescent development presents an exciting idea for future research.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.titleExplaining variation in adolescent wellbeing: The roles of personality, preadolescence, and past event talk
dc.language.rfc3066en of Science of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
 Find in your library

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item is not available in full-text via OUR Archive.

If you are the author of this item, please contact us if you wish to discuss making the full text publicly available.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record