Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Robert G. Wahler

Committee Members

Michael Nash, Howard Pollio, Brian Barber


The current study explored the role oflessons and dialogue in communication between mothers and their children in an effort to better understand the processes that influence and support healthy child narrative development. Volunteers were recruited from an elementary school, and pairs ofmothers and their children were observed. Observations were coded for the presence oflessons and dialogue, and mother and child narratives were gathered. It was predicted that dialogue would be an important component ofthe communication between mother and child, and that its presence would correlate with mother and child narrative measures. It was also predicted that mother and child would be in synchrony with each other in their communication. However, very little dialogue was present in the current study_ There was a negative correlation between mother narrative coherence and the use ofquestions by mother and child, and a positive correlation between the use oflessons and CBCL Internalizing scores. Possible reasons for the lack ofdialogue are discussed, as are the correlations between narrative measures and the observational codes.

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Psychology Commons