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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Department or Program Affiliation
Master of Science (MS)
McLean, Kate C.
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
Subject – LCSH
Identity (Psychology); Self; Social groups; Social influence
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Haraldsson, Kristín G. (Kristin Guðbjörg), "My story is not my own: A qualitative analysis of personal continuity and group narrative" (2019). WWU Graduate School Collection. 910.