Assessing the coherence of parents' short narratives regarding their child using the five-minute speech sample procedure

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Valid and efficient measures for assessing the quality of parent-child relationships are needed to facilitate research and evidence-based practice with parents. This paper focuses on such a method, namely Five-Minute Speech Sample-Coherence (FMSS-Coherence). In this method, a parent is asked to speak for five uninterrupted minutes about her/his child and their relationship. The resulted narrative is coded for coherence, namely the extent to which the parent provides in the narrative a clear, consistent, multidimensional and well-supported portrayal of the child. FMSS-Coherence is based on attachment research that shows that the coherence of parents’ narratives is indicative of the quality of the parent-child relationship and child adjustment. It overcomes the limitations of attachment narrative measures which are typically labor intensive. FMSS-Coherence is less nuanced than extant attachment narrative measures. Yet, studies of families from different cultural backgrounds, across different child ages and in the context of typically developing children as well as children with special needs suggest that coherence can be reliably evaluated using the FMSS procedure. Furthermore, parents’ FMSS-Coherence is associated with parenting quality and children’s socio-emotional adjustment. Thus, it holds promise for researchers and practitioners who seek a relatively time-and cost-effective method for assessing the coherence of parents’ narratives regarding their child.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere60025
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number151
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.


  • Behavior
  • Close relationships
  • Coherence
  • Developmental psychology
  • Five minute speech sample
  • FMSS-Coherence
  • Issue 151
  • Mother-child relationship
  • Narratives
  • Parent-child relationship
  • Parental representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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