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The Enduring Effects of Mother-Child Interactions as Children Become Adults

Interactions between a mother and her child have been linked to cognitive outcomes in childhood, but little work has looked at farther-reaching effects. In a Journal of Marriage & Family study that examined data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, more positive mother-child interactions during the first 16 years of life predicted higher education in adulthood, which predicted less decline in episodic memory, or the memory of autobiographical events.

Thursday, May 9, 2019 12:01 am EDT
"The findings highlight the importance of taking a more integrative and lifespan perspective to assess how early life experiences affect socioemotional and cognitive development"

Interactions between a mother and her child have been linked to cognitive outcomes in childhood, but little work has looked at farther-reaching effects.

In a Journal of Marriage & Family study that examined data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, more positive mother-child interactions during the first 16 years of life predicted higher education in adulthood, which predicted less decline in episodic memory, or the memory of autobiographical events. Additionally, more positive mother-child interactions were associated with better episodic memory through higher marital satisfaction.

The results provide evidence for the broad and enduring effects of early life maternal relationships on later life developmental processes.

“The findings highlight the importance of taking a more integrative and lifespan perspective to assess how early life experiences affect socioemotional and cognitive development,” the authors wrote.

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jomf.12569 

About Journal 

The Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF), published by the National Council on Family Relations, has been the leading research journal in the family field for more than 75 years and is consistently the most highly cited journal in Family Science. JMF features original research and theory using the variety of methods reflective of the full range of social sciences, including quantitative, qualitative, and multi-method designs; research interpretation; integrative review; reports on methodological and statistical advances; and critical discussion concerning all aspects of marriage, other forms of close relationships, and families. The journal also publishes brief reports.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in research and education. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, and our digital learning, assessment, certification and student-lifecycle services and solutions help universities, academic societies, businesses, governments and individuals to achieve their academic and professional goals. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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