The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.

Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Experimental Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

McLean, Kate C.

Second Advisor

Delucio, Kevin

Third Advisor

Czopp, Alex


Personal continuity, defined as having a sense of self that persists through time, is central to most theories of identity. People create personal continuity by creating a coherent life story that explains changes and stability in identity over time, commonly referred to as narrative identity. Recent research has begun to broaden the narrative approach to identity to emphasize the role that larger cultural forces play in shaping it. Building on this turn, the current study seeks to address a gap in the literature, exploring the role that social groups and their shared narratives play in personal continuity. This study was qualitative and descriptive, with an aim of theory-building. Thirteen adult children of immigrants, aged 18-52, were interviewed about their personal stories, the stories of their parents, and group narratives. Social constructivist grounded theory was used to analyze the interviews to examine the relationship between personal continuity and group narrative. Results showed that participants can create a sense of personal continuity by seeing themselves as part of a larger, continuously developing group narrative, though there are variations in how that is done, particularly in relation to whether continuity is seen in the past and/or future.




identity, personal continuity, group membership, collective continuity, culture, narrative


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Identity (Psychology); Self; Social groups; Social influence




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Included in

Psychology Commons