A study from the University of Otago in New Zealand shows that mothers sharing daily memories with their children during childhood affects psychological health and well-being in adulthood.
According to Neuroscience News, researchers found that 21-year-olds told more coherent stories about life-changing events if their mothers taught them new conversational techniques two decades earlier in their childhood.
These adults also reported less depression and higher self-esteem than adults in the study whose mothers interacted with them in regular ways.
The results of the study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, are part of a long-term follow-up of the impact of sharing memories between a mother and her child, in which 115 mothers of young children participated. A control group was either taught to use detailed memories for a year.
The elaborative memories technique involves open, rich, responsive conversations with children about shared experiences of everyday events. This is the first study to show the long-term benefits of sharing memories between mother and baby as they grow into adults.
Professor Sean Marshall, Professor of Psychology, says understanding ways to improve the mental health of 18-25 year olds is important because of their unique life stage.
Young people face many challenges when they leave home, enter college, or enter the workforce.
Professor Elaine Rees, professor of psychology and lead researcher on the research project, said “gentle intervention” through sharing memories and exchanging positive conversations in early childhood has been shown to provide lasting benefits for psychological well-being and mental health. Technologies benefit “parents and teachers of young children at home and in schools” and help them face life’s challenges with greater confidence and hope.
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