The Effects of Relational Savoring on Maternal Responsiveness: Investigating the Role of Culture

Ashley Ahn


Savoring, or the process of prolonging a specific experience of positive emotions, is associated with positive health outcomes and feelings of interpersonal connectedness. Few studies have examined the process of savoring in a family context, and even fewer studies have explored the extent to which it may vary across cultures. In a sample of mother-child dyads (n = 66; White = 33 and Latinx, non-White = 30), we investigated the effect of savoring on verbal and behavioral indicators of maternal responsiveness as compared to a control condition, a reflecting exercise about daily routines. The results suggest an interaction effect of experimental condition and race on verbal maternal responsiveness, such that White moms who savored were more responsive than those who had reflected. Unexpectedly, Latina moms who reflected were more responsive than those who had savored. This effect may be explained by Latinx cultural values of collectivism and familism interacting with participants’ interpretation of the experimental tasks. These findings suggest the use of savoring and positive emotion to improve parent-child relationships and highlight the importance of studying the role of culture in psychological interventions.