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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

McLean, Kate C.

Second Advisor

Schudlich, Tina Dawn Du Rocher

Third Advisor

Goodvin, Rebecca


The aim of the present study was to examine the family narratives of emerging adults. While previous studies have found that interpretative narrative content in adolescents' family narratives is related to identity development, this relation has not been explored in emerging adulthood. One hundred and fifty-eight university students, most in their first year, were asked to provide written narratives of times for the family that were happy, difficult, or transitional, as well as a narrative about themselves commonly told by the family. I examined the relationship between interpretive processing and identity within and across these narrative types, controlling for family dysfunction and factual content, as well as examining moderation by gender and family dysfunction. Results showed that interpretive processing is uniquely important for the identity development of males, and post-hoc analyses revealed that this might be in part due to romantic relationship status. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of examining narrative prompts separately and the developmental implications of the unique relationship for young men as well as exploring the concept of a master family narrative within individual families and American culture.




Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Young adults--Psychological aspects; Young adults--Family relationships; Identity (Psychology); Gender identity; Families




masters theses




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