Differences in the structure of conversations between a father-child and mother-child dyad: a preliminary investigation

2017-06-02T02:08:46Z (GMT) by Xafis, Vicki
A father-child and a mother-child conversation were analysed based on Stech's (1982) framework in order to determine whether there were structural differences between the two conversations. The child subject was a male, 3:7 years of age. Structural complexity, topic initiation, topic maintenance and development were the key areas examined. The father-child conversation displayed greater structural complexity and a greater balance in contributions between father and child. This conversation also displayed greater cohesion than the mother-child conversation. Conversely, in the mother-child conversation, the mother had greater control of the conversation and introduced most of the topics as a result of which the child contributed less than in the father-child conversation. These differences can be attributed to speaker style, gender-based linguistic differences and parental roles.