Written by Melinda POHÁRNOK on . Posted in Special section: Volume XX, Nr 4



Institute of Psychology, University of Pécs, Hungary


The current study’s first aim was to reveal the structural properties of mother-child reminiscing about past events involving feelings of pride and shame in a Hungarian sample of mothers and their preschool children. The second aim was to examine whether different structural and narrative properties of shame conversations are related to children’s perceived social acceptance and behavioral problems. Mother-child pairs (N = 63, children aged between 5 and 7 years) participated in reminiscing conversations about two shared past events, in which children experienced shame and pride. Mothers completed the parent-report version of the Child Behavior Checklist, while their children completed a pictorial self-perception measure. Mothers’ and children’s event talks were coded for structural elements, elaborations, and evaluations. The results showed differences between shame and pride conversations in terms of length and amount of maternal elaborations. Children’s perceived social acceptance was negatively associated with the length of mothers’ contribution to the conversation and frequency of mothers’ closed-ended questions and informative statements. Children’s internalizing behavior problems were positively associated to the length of the conversation and maternal participation in shame conversations, but not in pride-related conversations. Specifically, mothers’ open-ended questions and repetitions of child's utterances were related to children’s internalizing problems. Findings are discussed following an autobiographical memory approach to socioemotional development.

KEYWORDS: narrative co-construction; self-conscious emotions; maternal elaboration; self-perception

PAGES: 319-330

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