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Investigating whether maternal memory specificity is indirectly associated with child memory specificity through maternal reminiscing

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Maternal reminiscing and remembering has a profound influence on the development of children’s autobiographical remembering skills. The current study investigated the relationships between maternal memory specificity, maternal reminiscing and child memory specificity. Participants consisted of 40 mother–child dyads. Children’s age ranged between 3.5 and 6 years. Mothers and children participated in individual assessments of autobiographical memory specificity. Dyads participated in a joint reminiscing task about three past emotional (happy, sad, stressful) events. A positive moderate association was found between maternal autobiographical memory specificity and child autobiographical memory specificity. Maternal autobiographical memory specificity was significantly correlated with mothers’ focus on the task, involvement and reciprocity, resolution of negative feelings, and structuring of narratives in the mother–child reminiscing task. Moderate positive associations were found between maternal focus and structuring and child memory specificity. There was no evidence to suggest maternal elaborative reminiscing style was significantly positively correlated with mother or child memory specificity. Finally, there was support for an indirect pathway between maternal memory specificity and child memory specificity through quality of support and guidance provided by the mother in maternal reminiscing. Theoretical and clinical implications are considered.
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Keywords: Autobiographical memory; memory specificity; mother–child reminiscing; overgeneral memory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychological Sciences and Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: November 26, 2018

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