Based on attachment theory and recent findings with adults on relations between narrative coherence and well-being, we hypothesized that mothers who are more securely attached and who cope more effectively would be more engaged and more emotionally expressive in mother-child co-constructed narratives about stressful events. Twenty-seven mostly white mixed-SES mothers and their 9- to 12-year-old children with asthma were asked to discuss two asthmaspecific stressful events together: a chronic parent-child conflict and an acute asthma attack. Few relations emerged for the asthma attack event, although, against predictions, mothers who were more anxiously attached were more engaged and more explanatory in these narratives than mothers who were less anxiously attached. For the conflict event, mothers who were more anxiously attached talked more about other people’s emotions than did mothers who were less anxiously attached, and mothers who cope more effectively were more engaged, more emotionally expressive, and more explanatory, and, in turn, their children showed more flexible coping.
Fivush, Robyn and McDermott Sales, Jessica
"Coping, Attachment, and Mother-Child Narratives
of Stressful Events,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 52
, Article 7.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol52/iss1/7