Parental elaborative reminiscing supports young children’s autobiographical memory, narrative, and socioemotional skills.
This study is an adolescent follow-up of a reminiscing intervention in which 115 primary-caregiver mothers of toddlers were randomly assigned to a control group (n = 59) or to receive training in elaborative reminiscing (n = 56) for the next year.
At age 15, 93 of the now-adolescents (81%) were invited to narrate a turning point in their lives and to report on their personality traits and well-being. Turning-point narratives were coded for causal coherence (connections between past events and present self) and thematic coherence (elaboration and resolutions).
Adolescents whose mothers were in the intervention group told more causally coherent turning-point narratives and reported fewer emotional problems than control participants, covarying for baseline measures and personality traits.
Maternal elaborative reminiscing in early childhood appears to have long-term benefits for adolescents’ causal coherence in turning-point narratives and well-being.