Brief Report: Daughters and Mothers: Age Differences in Relationship Descriptions and Communicative Desires

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Women, ages 16–78 (N = 183), described (a) their relationships with their mothers; and (b) the one thing they would most like to say to their mothers. Items were categorized as positive or negative and messages as angry (negative), loving (positive), and sharing (positive). It was hypothesized that adolescents and midlife daughters would have more negative dyadic relationship descriptions and wish to express more anger than would young adults or elders. Investigation of incongruence according to age in relationship descriptions and desired messages were coded. Results supported incongruences for adolescents but not midlife daughters. Overall dyadic descriptions and desired messages were more positive than negative; adolescent and midlife daughters were most angry. Significant findings are reported on motherhood, divorce, widowhood, and single status.

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