The mother-daughter relationship is the focus of a new university study.
The mother-daughter relationship is the focus of a new university study. Contributed

Knowing your mum really cares

THE bond begins before we enter this earth, and remains long after we leave the womb.

Their hearts fill with joy as we speak our first words and take our first steps, and their hearts break as we get older and learn to talk back and to walk away.

The relationship between a mother and a daughter can be a rocky one, but it is a relationship which sustains most women throughout their lives.

A new study being undertaken at University of the Sunshine Coast is hoping to show good mother-daughter relationships to be vital in the development of adolescent girls.

The project, called Knowing You, Knowing Me, is being conducted by USC psychology professor Mary Katsikitis, as well as interactive digital media associate professor Christian Jones, and PhD student Melody Muscat.

Professor Katsikitis said the project was looking at communication strategies between young girls and mothers, and how this could improve the relationship.

"This study is about communication strategies and how these can improve risk-taking behaviours in young girls," she said.

During the adolescent years, girls were most vulnerable to rebelling against their mothers, but these years were when girls were looking for guidance and role modelling from their mothers, Prof Katsikitis said.

"The relationship between a mother and a daughter is one of the most important a girl will ever have," she said.

"Young girls at this age (12-14) are looking to their mothers for guidance and role modelling."

Coast resident Danica Burrows is one of the lucky ones who can say she benefits from not only having a mother when she needs one, but also a best friend.

"I never went through that bad rebellious stage as a teen," she said.

"I always got along with Mum."

Danica said despite getting along, she actually started calling her mother a friend only after she had left her teen years behind.

"It wasn't until 20 that we became good friends," she said.

Despite being separated by long distance (her mother lives in Tamworth), they keep in regular contact with phone calls and visits.

Danica feels lucky to have their relationship after seeing many colleagues without strong support.

"I've met people who don't have a close relationship with their mums and I feel sorry for them," she said.

Professor Katsikitis said the researchers were looking for participants for the study which would be conducted for three weeks at the beginning of next month.

They are looking for 50 mothers with daughters aged 12-14 to participate in activities in areas such as communication, healthy relationship building, and management of risk-taking behaviours in different social environments.

Participants will be asked to complete a pre-intervention survey, a post-intervention survey and a follow-up survey two months later.

To be involved, mothers can email kykm@usc.edu.au for further information and to register.



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