Maternal Reminiscing and Child Autobiographical Memory Elaboration: A Meta-Analytic Review

Yun Wu, Laura Jobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Significant research has investigated the relationship between mother- child reminiscing and children's autobiographical memory development. It has been suggested that mothers who adopt a high elaborative reminiscing style tend to have children who provide greater memory elaboration during joint reminiscing, yet the empirical findings are somewhat mixed. To address this issue, a systematic review and meta-analyses were conducted to investigate the relationship between maternal elaborative reminiscing and child autobiographical memory elaboration. Thirty-four cross-sectional and longitudinal studies from peer-reviewed journals and published dissertations were included in the review. Of those, 31 studies had available data for meta-analytic analyses of the maternal reminiscing variables identified in the review. Findings from this study provided strong evidence indicating that high elaborative maternal reminiscing was associated with children's ability to provide greater detailed personal memory, both concurrently and longitudinally. Among maternal elaborative reminiscing elements identified, mothers' open-ended elaboration and positive evaluation were found to be most related to child memory elaboration. More research is needed to identify the effects of sociocultural contexts on the relationship between maternal elaborative reminiscing and child memory elaboration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2505-2521
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Autobiographical memory
  • Elaborative reminiscing
  • Memory elaboration
  • Mother-child reminiscing
  • Sociocultural influence

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