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When individuals first converse with others, they bring to those interactions expectations and habits of communication that are affected by many factors. In this study we looked at several factors simultaneously to see which predicted narrative elaboration in personal memories of early childhood and adolescence: self-described attachment patterns, stress of original experiences, and gender. A sample of 195 undergraduates aged 18–29 recalled their very earliest memory and their earliest memory of adolescence (in counterbalanced order) and completed the Multi-Item Measure of Romantic Attachment (Brennan, Clark, & Shaver, 1998). Positive experiences dominated both early and adolescent memories, though there were significant positive correlations between ratings of negativity (stress) and several measures of narrative elaboration in both kinds of memories. Avoidance scales correlated negatively with many measures of elaboration, while anxiety scales correlated positively only with one submeasure. In regression analyses of narrative elaboration conducted separately for early and late memories, the following significant patterns were observed: (1) females elaborated more than males; (2) more negative memories predicted more elaboration but only in early memories; and (3) avoidance scores predicted less elaboration, while anxiety scales were not significant predictors. Results are discussed in terms of the consequences of these issues for dating.
|Department(s):||Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
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