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Reversal theory and emotional and psychophysiological processes in mother-daughter interactions


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Ghafar-Tabrizi, Robabeh 2003 , 'Reversal theory and emotional and psychophysiological processes in mother-daughter interactions', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis investigated the emotional and psychophysiological processes in
mother-adolescent daughter dyads using reversal theory constructs (Apter, 1982)
including metamotivational states, metamotivational dominances, and reversal
Experiment 1 used 63 mother-daughter dyads and sought to identify the
predictors of perceived conflict in the family environment and to investigate
emotional processes during neutral, conflictual and pleasant conversational
interactions. The results revealed associations between the perceived conflict in the
family and each of parenting skills and stress, psychopathology, motivational styles,
anger intensity and perceived control and organisation in the family. Also, the
conversations generally reduced the levels of hedonic tone and transactional gain and
increased the levels of transactional loss for the participants. The conflictual
conversation induced lower levels of pleasant emotions and higher levels of the telic
state, stress, and unpleasant emotions than the neutral or pleasant conversations.
Daughters experienced greater levels of paratelic emotions and transactional loss than
mothers, which was consistent with the mother-daughter differences in arousal seeking,
negativistic and autic-mastery dominance.
In Experiment 2, a high-conflict group (12 dyads) and a low-conflict group
(12 dyads), were established on the basis of the Conflict subscale of Family
Environment Scale to examine emotional changes and physiological arousal during
neutral, conflictual and pleasant conversational interactions. The high-conflict group experienced greater levels of unpleasant emotions and positive transactional
emotions than the low-conflict group. There was no significant difference in
sympathetic arousal between the groups. Experiment 2 also examined the
metamotivational and emotional predictors of individual physiological responses
during the dyadic interactions. It was found that anxiety and anger (low hedonic tone
in a telic state) and excitement and provocativeness (high hedonic tone in a paratelic
state) were associated with levels of sympathetic arousal of participants. Both
transactional loss and gain were related to physiological responding.
In Experiment 3, the same high and low conflict dyads in Experiment 2 were
used to examine the levels of physiological linkage between dyads and identify the
metamotivational and emotional predictors of physiological linkage. The results
indicate that the physiology of daughters predicted the responses of mothers better
than vice versa. It was also shown that daughters' ratings of provocativeness and
placidity were both predictive of physiological linkage. Both transactional loss and
gain were related to shared physiology. For the high-conflict group, physiological
linkage was stronger during the conflictual conversation than the pleasant
On the whole, the results demonstrated the utility of reversal theory constructs
in explaining the interplay between the operative metamotivational state, reversal
processes, motivational styles and contextual features in emotional and physiological
processes in mother daughter dyads. However the verbal, non-verbal, and cognitive
factors that instigate reversals remain to be investigated.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Ghafar-Tabrizi, Robabeh
Keywords: Mothers and daughters, Reversal theory (Psychology)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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