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How three generations narrate their vicarious family stories: intrafamilial similarities, gender and cross-generational differences

2020-04-01
Bakir-Demir, Tugce
Reese, Elaine
Şahin Acar, Başak
This study investigated the memory characteristics of vicarious family stories. Seventy-two families including three generations of women and men from different samples of families were recruited. Results can be described in three main sections: (a) intrafamilial similarities; (b) gender differences; and (c) cross-generational differences. For intrafamilial similarities, members of the same family showed similarities in terms of the volume and number of other-related words. For gender differences, women focused more on social interactions, used more other-related words and subjective perspective terms, and made more identity connections between others and parents than men. When describing parents' reasons for telling family stories, women were also less likely to report development and teaching reasons and more likely to report emotional reasons compared to men. For cross-generational differences, the oldest generation's stories were less coherent than the youngest and middle generations', and less voluminous than the middle generation's. Additionally, the youngest generation reported entertainment reasons more often than the oldest generation. Emotional reasons were more common for the middle generation than for the youngest and oldest generations. These findings contribute to the growing area of research on family narratives by examining the elements of narrative identity in family stories across three generations.