Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 307–321 | Cite as

Turn-taking in mother-adolescent conversations about sexuality and conflict

  • Eva S. Lefkowitz
  • Patricia E. Kahlbaugh
  • Marian D. Sigman


The current study examined the nature and style of mother-adolescent conversations, how these conversations differ by subject matter, and dyadic and individual differences. Thirty-one mother-adolescent dyads (17 boys, 14 girls) with a child between the ages of 11 and 14 had a nonstructured conversation, and conversations about conflict and sexuality. They also completed questionnaires on beliefs about acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Conversations were measured for turn taking, total number of words, and conversational dominance, as well as nonverbal measures of affiliation, shame, and contempt. Conversations about sexuality involved less turn taking, fewer words, and more mother dominance than nonstructured conversations. Conversations about conflicts involved less turn taking but more words than nonstructured conversations. Some gender and age differences were found. More interactive conflict conversations contained higher levels of affiliation, and lower levels of child shame than conversations with fewer turns or higher mother dominance. In addition, children in more interactive dyads possessed a larger percentage of their mother's AIDS knowledge, and worried about AIDS a moderate amount.


Individual Difference Health Psychology Subject Matter Large Percentage Moderate Amount 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva S. Lefkowitz
    • 1
  • Patricia E. Kahlbaugh
    • 2
  • Marian D. Sigman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySouthern Connecticut State UniversityNew Haven
  3. 3.University of CaliforniaLos Angeles

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