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Psychol Psychother. 2009 Jun;82(Pt 2):171-84. doi: 10.1348/147608308X395213. Epub 2009 Jan 24.

Development of an early memories of warmth and safeness scale and its relationship to psychopathology.

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Mental Health Research Unit, Kingsway Hospital, Derby, UK.


Experiences of early childhood have a major impact on physiological, psychological, and social aspects of maturation and functioning. One avenue of work explores the recall and memory of positive or negative rearing experiences and their association with psychopathology measures. However, while many self-report studies have focused on the recall of parental behaviours this study developed a new measure called the early memories of warmth and safeness scale (EMWSS), which focuses on recall of one's own inner positive feelings, emotions and experiences in childhood. Student participants (N = 180) completed the new scale and a series of self-report scales measuring different types of early recall, psychopathology, types of positive affect, and self-criticism/reassurance. The EMWSS was found to have good psychometric properties and reliability. Recall of parental behaviour and recall of positive emotional memories were highly related, but recall of positive emotional memories was a better predictor of psychopathology, styles of self-criticism/self-reassurance and disposition to experience positive affect, than recall of parental behaviour.

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