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J Clin Med Res. 2011 Jul 26;3(4):195-8. doi: 10.4021/jocmr613w.

The relationship between mother narrative style and child memory.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, American Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The question of whether children and infants have memory capabilities similar to adults has long been of interest. Until recently, it was thought that compared to adults, infants have very limited memory processing abilities. Knowledge about factors affecting a child's memory abilities can help families (specifically mothers) behave in a manner that best benefits their children in language and memory skills. The present study examines one factor that may underlie a child's memory capabilities; namely the mother's narrative style.

METHODS:

Convenience sampling was used to select participants. Forty healthy children (mean age of 31.55 months, range 25-37 months) and their mothers were entered into the study. All participants were native Turkish speakers, from similar socioeconomic status backgrounds. Memory was assessed by a modified version of the Magic Shrinking Machine. Narrative style was assessed by the mother "reading" a Frog Story; a picture book with no words in it. Children were then grouped according to their mother's level of narrative style. Children's language skills were measured via the Turkish form of the CDI (Communicative Development Inventory) which was translated to Turkish as TIGE.

RESULTS:

To explore the relationships between mothers' narrative styles and children's memory and language skills and between children's language skills and memory capabilities, linear regressions were run. There were no significant correlations among any comparisons (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Children's language skills do not improve according to their mothers' narrative styles, and children do not show better memory abilities when mothers use more words and longer sentences. In order to have a better understanding of these relationships, future research that includes several more variables is needed.

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