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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
McLean, Kate C.
Personal narratives have been shown to play an important role in creating a stable sense of self, yet little research has examined this in experimental designs. Thus, this study explored the utility of narrative, in comparison to other mechanisms (e.g., self-affirmation, distraction), for coping with threats to self-concept by examining affective and cognitive repair after experiencing a threat. Participants (N = 331) received false physiological feedback suggesting a prejudiced response to African Americans and obese people and were induced to complete one of five repair techniques. Participants also completed affect and self-concept measures pre-study, post-threat, and post-repair. Overall, threat-specific and high-point narratives did not differ from other groups in their ability to overcome selfconcept threat, but high-point narratives were particularly effective in enacting affective repair. However, individual differences in the threat-specific narratives moderated the effectiveness of this condition, so that more skilled story-telling was associated with more repair. These results suggest that while narrative processing is an effective method of maintaining a stable self-concept for people who have the appropriate skills and content to draw on, it is by no means necessary. Other self-maintenance techniques, such as remembering positive experiences unrelated to the threat, are also effective in maintaining self-meaning and may be more strategic responses to situations when the capacity for quality narrative reflection is low.
Western Washington University
Subject – LCSH
Self-perception; Autobiographical memory--Psychological aspects; Narration (Rhetoric)--Psychological aspects
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Jennings, Lauren E., "Self discrepancy and narrative repair" (2011). WWU Graduate School Collection. 149.