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date: 16 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews the literature linking personal narratives to self and identity across the lifespan. Evidence supports the idea that personal narratives both reflect existing aspects of a narrator’s self and identity, broadly understood, and serve to construct, maintain, and even alter the narrator’s self and identity over time. These claims are based, as the article reveals, on cross-sectional, prospective longitudinal, and experimental evidence. Some of the strongest evidence within the field focuses on well-being and narrative. Further, narrative and self/identity relationships reflect the broader sociocultural contexts within which they are created. Areas with significant remaining questions in the area of narrative and self are also reviewed, including the role of other people’s stories in self and identity development and the implications of social media for self and narrative.

Keywords: Narrative, self, identity, autobiographical memory, well-being, lifespan development

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