19. European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Athens, Greece, 29 August - 01 September 2020, pp.393
Background and aims: Personal life stories and memories individuals tell is a way of defining themselves within families, contexts, and cultures. Memory conversations about shared and unshared past events have a critical role in their cognitive development in terms of recognition, remembering, and narrating. In addition, reminiscing about shared and unshared memories with parents lead children to adopt a particular narrative style, that was theorized to remain stable over life span. In previous research about reminiscing style that parents, and children develop and share, parent involvement has been generally referred to as mother involvement, and only a few studies examined fathers’ contribution in these conversations. This lack of research on fathers’ role might be due to mothers’ attributed role as the main caregiver which can lead to maternal gatekeeping behavior. The current study explored the relationship between maternal gatekeeping behavior and the characteristics of father- child memory conversations through the mediator role of father involvement.
Methods: Father-child dyads were invited Middle East Technical University Child and Adolescent Lab to reminisce about a shared past event. Those conversations were audio-recorded and afterwards both fathers’ and children’s level of elaborativeness in conversing about the shared past event was coded. Mothers filled out mother involvement and maternal gatekeeping scales, while fathers filled out father involvement and perceived maternal gatekeeping scale.
Results and conclusion: Results revealed that maternal gatekeeping, perceived maternal gatekeeping, or mother involvement did not predict father involvement, or participants’ elaborativeness. However, father involvement significantly predicted child elaborativeness in the shared past conversation. The overall mediation model was not significant. Further analyses showed effects of child’s gender on some of the relationships in the model. In those terms, results revealed that maternal gatekeeping and father involvement affect father-child dyad’s memory characteristics in shared past conversations in a different way, as a result of gender socialization roles.