Conversational styles of mothers with different value priorities: Comparing Estonian mothers in Estonia and Sweden

  • Tiia Tulviste
  • Luule Kants


The present study’s aim was to compare the conversational style and value preferences of mothers in Estonian families living in Estonia and Sweden. Early adolescent children (10 to 13 years old) and their mothers were videotaped at their homes during mealtime. All regulatory utterances were identified, and differentiated into two groups depending on whether their aim was to control behavior or elicit talk. Attempting to link the hypothesized socio-cultural variation in regulatory speech to a broader belief system, a number of questionnaire items on values from the Schwartz’s Value Survey (Schwartz & Bilsky, 1987) were administered to the mothers. As expected, the analyses revealed differences in the conversational intentions of the Estonian-speaking mothers living in two different countries. Mothers in Estonia were significantly more concerned with controlling early adolescents’ behavior than mothers in Sweden. Responses to value items supported the real-life findings, showing that mothers in Sweden valued significantly higher the value domains of Achievement and Self-direction than mothers in Estonia.

Key words

Estonian Mother-early adolescent interaction Regulatory speech Value priorities 


L’objectif de cette étude était la comparaison du style de la conversation et des valeurs préférées des mères des familles estoniennes habitant en Estonie et en Suède. De jeunes adolescents (de 10 à 13 ans) et leurs mères ont été filmés chez eux pendant leurs repas. Toutes les expressions régulatrices ont été identifiées et divisées en deux groupes selon leur objectif: dans le premier étaient celles qui visaient à régler le comportement, dans le second celles qui visaient à faire parler l’enfant. Pour trouver un lien entre la variation socioculturelle supposée de la conversation régulatrice et un système des convictions plus général, un certain nombre de questions du questionnaire sur les valeurs de l’Enquête des valeurs de Schwartz (Schwartz & Bilsky, 1987) a été posé aux mères. Comme prévu, l’analyse a révélé une différence entre les intentions de la conversation des mères parlant estonien et habitant dans les deux pays différents. Les mères en Estonie cherchaient beaucoup plus à régler la conduite de leurs enfants, jeunes adolescents, que les mères en Suède. Les réponses aux questions concernant les valeurs confirment les résultats de l’étude de la vie réelle, en indiquant que les mères en Suède attribuent beaucoup plus de valeur à la réussite et à l’autodirection que les mères en Estonie.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Södertörn UniversitySweden
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

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