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The Narrative Self in Context: An Examination of Narrative Identity within Interpersonal Contexts and Relational Domains

  • Author(s): Harake, Nicole R.
  • Advisor(s): Dunlop, William
  • et al.
Abstract

Narrative identity is an internal story about the self, capturing the personal past, present, and anticipated future. In this dissertation, I applied a contextualized approach to the study of narrative identity. Across four studies, I examined narrative identity via a focus on three interpersonal contexts and relational domains—a social setting (e.g., interpersonal perceptions; Study 1), the romantic domain broadly (Studies 2 and 4), and a particular event from within the romantic domain (Study 3). In Study 1, I investigated the extent to which individuals are aware of, and accurately portray, their close social contacts’ significant autobiographical stories. In Study 2, I assessed narrative coherence, a fundamental feature of narrative identity, within self-definitional love life narratives, and explored this construct in relation to self-reports of romantic attachment tendencies. In Study 3, I further contextualized narrative identity by examining narratives of romantic breakups in relation to these same romantic attachment tendencies. In Studies 1-3, distinct coding paradigms were used to operationalize narrative identity. In Study 4, I conducted an expansion and reanalysis of the data presented in Study 2c, by applying the three narrative identity coding paradigms used in Studies 1-3 to these data and explored these distinct features in relation to psychological adjustment. Together, this dissertation further extends the contextualized study of narrative identity.

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