Reunion after a long day: Mother-child dyads’ unshared memory conversations

Şahin Acar, Başak
Alsancak-Akbulut, Cansu
Sagel-Cetiner, Ece
This study aimed to examine mother-child dyads' unshared memory conversations in relation to mothers' self-construals and romantic attachment styles in Turkish cultural context. Conversations of 32 mothers and their four-year-old children were recorded from the time mothers picked their children up from daycare until they reached their homes. Children were unaware of the study/recording and mothers were wearing a pendant attached to a digital voice recorder. All transcriptions were screened both for unshared and shared past references, and only past references were coded for elaborativeness and repetitiveness. All coded utterances of unshared and shared past were divided by the total amount of time of the conversation in order to equalize the variance. Findings revealed that mothers who had a more individuated self-construal and avoidant attachment style, who were older, and whose children were also older, were more elaborative in unshared past references; yet there were no significant results on maternal elaborativeness in shared past references, or on maternal repetitiveness at all. When unshared and shared past references were collapsed, same set of results were revealed, except for the child's age. Furthermore, older mothers with more related self-construals used more maternal repetitiveness in these collapsed past references. The current study revealed that maternal self-construals and avoidance predicted maternal elaborativeness in unshared past conversations at the time of the reunion after a long day. The current study also allowed an important extension of research on mother-child memory conversations beyond Western families. Finally, controversial findings on avoidance were considered to shed light on the cultural dimensions of attachment theory.
Cognitive Development


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Citation Formats
B. Şahin Acar, C. Alsancak-Akbulut, and E. Sagel-Cetiner, “Reunion after a long day: Mother-child dyads’ unshared memory conversations,” Cognitive Development, pp. 0–0, 2019, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: