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Childhood memory and self-description in young Chinese adults: The impact of growing up an only child

, : Childhood memory and self-description in young Chinese adults: The impact of growing up an only child. Cognition 69(1): 73-103, Nov

This study examined the relationship between self-description and childhood memory in 255 Chinese young adults. Ninety-nine participants were from only child families and 156 had siblings. All participants completed two questionnaires: a version of the Twenty Statements Test of Kuhn and McPartland (Kuhn, M.H., McPartland, T.S., 1954. An empirical investigation of self-attitudes. American Sociological Review 19, 68-76) eliciting self-descriptions, and an instrument asking for earliest and other childhood memories. Based on theories positing a relationship between autobiography and the organization of the self, we predicted differences on both measures between only- and sibling-child participants. Findings indicated that compared with sibling children, only children had more private and fewer collective self-descriptions, earlier first memories, more specific and more self-focused memories. In addition, autobiographical measures were influenced by cohort, gender, preschool attendance, and urban/rural family effects. Findings are discussed in terms of literature on autobiography, the self and childhood in China.


DOI: 10.1016/s0010-0277(98)00061-4

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