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Dev Psychol. 2005 Mar;41(2):376-88.

Maternal structure and autonomy support in conversations about the past: contributions to children's autobiographical memory.

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Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology, Clark University, 950 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01610, USA.


The authors examined the contributions of maternal structure and autonomy support to children's collaborative and independent reminiscing. Fifty mother-child dyads discussed past experiences when the children were 40 and 65 months old. Children also discussed past events with an experimenter at each age. Maternal structure and autonomy support appeared as 2 distinct and separable components of mothers' reminiscing style and acted in an additive fashion to predict children's memory. Children whose mothers demonstrated both high structure and high autonomy support provided the greatest memory in these conversations, whereas children whose mothers were low on both dimensions provided minimal memory. The authors discuss the implications of these effects for children's autobiographical memory development.

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