Peterson, C. & Roberts, C. (2003). Like mother, like daughter: Similarities in narrative style. Developmental Psychology, 39, 551-562.


Children (2- to 5-year-olds and 8- to 13-year-olds) and their parents were independently interviewed about a highly salient event, namely an injury serious enough to necessitate hospital ER treatment. Free recall narratives were elicited about the events ("Tell me about when you/your child got hurt"). Narratives were scored using 14 measures focusing on the narrative properties of length, elaborative detail, cohesion, coherence, and provision of context information. Narratives of mothers were more cohesive and coherent than those of fathers, and girls' narratives differed from boys' in parallel ways. Child and parent measures were then correlated, and pair members were compared for concordance within the dyads of mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, and father-son. Narratives of girls between 8 and 13 years of age showed striking similarity with those of their mothers in all five properties whereas there was no similarity between older daughters and fathers. Boys and younger children of both genders showed little narrative similarity to either parent. This suggests a special status for mother-daughter dyads in terms of how events come to be linguistically represented in narrative.