The role of narrative in personality psychology today

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Abstract

Over the past 25 years, narrative theories and methods have helped to revitalize the discipline of personality psychology by providing new tools and concepts for discerning the inner patterning and meaning of human lives and by helping to recontextualize personality studies in terms of culture, gender, class, ethnicity, and the social ecology of everyday life. This article (a) briefly traces recent historical developments in personality psychology as they relate to the increasing influence of narrative approaches; (b) describes a three-tiered conceptual framework for understanding personality in terms of dispositional traits, characteristic adaptations, and life stories; and (c) illustrates one important research program on life stories in personality — studies of the redemptive self.

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