Advertisement

Emerging Identities: Narrative and Self from Early Childhood to Early Adolescence

  • Elaine Reese
  • Chen Yan
  • Fiona Jack
  • Harlene Hayne
Chapter
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)

Abstract

This chapter is about when and how we begin to draw meaning from important events in our lives. Although children may indeed “wake up” to a new level of self-reflection in adolescence, we will argue that these newfound realizations are built upon experiences and capacities that have been developing from early childhood. We will also propose that the ability to draw meaning from life events is present much earlier in development than previously assumed, at the very latest by early adolescence, and possibly even earlier.

Keywords

Early Childhood Early Adolescence Past Event Autobiographical Memory Middle Childhood 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Shelley MacDonald and William Friedman for allowing us to use their datasets in the preparation of this chapter. We also thank Naomi White for her help with coding.

References

  1. Baddeley, J., & Singer, J. A. (2007). Charting the life story’s path: Narrative identity across the life span. In D. J. Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (pp. 177–202). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baerger, D. R., & McAdams, D. P. (1999). Life story coherence and its relation to psychological well-being. Narrative Inquiry, 9, 69–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bauer, J. J., McAdams, D. P., & Sakaeda, A. R. (2005). Interpreting the good life: Growth memories in the lives of mature, happy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 203–217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bird, A., & Reese, E. (2006). Emotional reminiscing and the development of an autobiographical self. Developmental Psychology, 42, 613–626.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bird, A., & Reese, E. (2008). Autobiographical memory in childhood and the development of a continuous self. In F. Sani (Ed.), Individual and collective self-continuity: Psychological perspectives. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  6. Blagov, P. S., & Singer, J. A. (2004). Four dimensions of self-defining memories (specificity, meaning, content, and affect) and their relationships to self-restraint, distress, and repressive defensiveness. Journal of Personality, 72, 481–511.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chandler, M. J., & Proulx, T. (2008). Personal persistence and persistent peoples: Continuities in the lives of individual and whole cultural communities. In F. Sani (Ed.), Individual and collective self-continuity: Psychological perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Conway, M. A., Singer, J. A., & Tagini, A. (2004). The self and autobiographical memory: Correspondence and coherence. Social Cognition, 22, 491–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1997). Peabody picture vocabulary test (3rd ed.). Minnesota: American Guidance Service, Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Eder, R. (1990). Uncovering young children’s psychological selves: Individual and developmental differences. Child Development, 61, 849–863.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Engel, S. (1999). Context is everything: The nature of memory. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  12. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar
  13. Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., et al. (1993). The MacArthur communicative development inventories: User’s guide and technical manual. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  14. Fivush, R. (2001). Owning experience: The development of subjective perspective in autobiographical memory. In C. Moore & K. Lemmon (Eds.), The self in time: Developmental perspectives (pp. 35–52). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  15. Fivush, R., Bohanek, J., Robertson, R., & Duke, M. (2004). Family narratives and the development of children’s well-being. In M. W. Pratt & B. E. Fiese (Eds.), Family stories and the lifecourse: Across time and generations (pp. 55–76). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Fivush, R., Haden, C. A., & Adam, S. (1995). Structure and coherence of preschoolers’ personal narratives over time: Implications for childhood amnesia. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 60, 32–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fivush, R., Haden, C. A., & Reese, E. (2006). Elaborating on elaborations: The role of maternal reminiscing style in cognitive and socioemotional development. Child Development, 77, 1568–1588.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fivush, R., Marin, K., Crawford, M., Reynolds, M., & Brewin, C. R. (2007). Children’s narratives and well-being. Cognition and Emotion, 21, 1414–1434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fivush, R., & Vasudeva, A. (2002). Remembering to relate: Socioemotional correlates of mother-child reminiscing. Journal of Cognition and Development, 3, 73–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Habermas, T., & Bluck, S. (2000). Getting a life: The emergence of the life story in adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 748–769.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Habermas, T., & Paha, C. (2001). The development of coherence in adolescents’ life narratives. Narrative Inquiry, 11, 35–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Habermas, T., & de Silveira, C. (2008). The development of global coherence in life narratives across adolescence: Temporal, causal, and thematic aspects. Developmental Psychology, 44, 707–721.Google Scholar
  23. Haden, C., Haine, R., & Fivush, R. (1997). Developing narrative structure in parent-child conversations about the past. Developmental Psychology, 33, 295–307.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Han, J. J., Leichtman, M. D., & Wang, Q. (1998). Autobiographical memory in Korean, Chinese, and American children. Developmental Psychology, 34, 701–713.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harter, S. (1982). The perceived competence scale for children. Child Development, 53, 87–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life, and work in communities and classrooms. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Jack, F., MacDonald, S., Reese, E., & Hayne, H. (2009). Maternal reminiscing style during early childhood predicts the age of adolescents’ earliest memories. Child Development, 80, 496–505.Google Scholar
  28. King, L. A. (2001). The happy road to the good life: The happy, mature person. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41, 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. King, L. A., & Miner, K. N. (2000). Writing about the perceived benefits of traumatic events: Implications for physical health. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 220–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Laible, D. (2004). Mother-child discourse in two contexts: Links with child temperament, attachment security, and socioemotional competence. Developmental Psychology, 40, 979–992.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Linde, C. (1993). Life stories: The creation of coherence. NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. McAdams, D. P. (1993). The stories we live by: Personal myths and the making of the self. NY: William Morrow & Co.Google Scholar
  33. McAdams, D. P. (1995). The life story interview. http://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/foley/instruments/interview (revised 1995).
  34. McAdams, D. P. (1996). Personality, modernity, and the storied self: A contemporary framework for studying persons. Psychological Inquiry, 7, 295–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McAdams, D. P. (2006). The role of narrative in personality psychology today. Narrative Inquiry, 16, 11–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McAdams, D. P., Anyidoho, N. A., Brown, C., Huang, Y. T., Kaplan, B., & Machado, M. A. (2004). Traits and stories: Links between dispositional and narrative features of personality. Journal of Personality, 72, 761–784.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McAdams, D. P., Bauer, J. J., Sakaeda, A. R., Anyidoho, N. A., Machado, M. A., Magrino-Failla, K., et al. (2006). Continuity and change in the life story: A longitudinal study of autobiographical memories in emerging adulthood. Journal of Personality, 74, 1371–1400.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McAdams, D. P., Reynolds, J., Lewis, M., Patten, A., & Bowman, P. J. (2001). When bad things turn good and good things turn bad: Sequences of redemption and contamination in life narrative, and their relation to psychosocial adaptation in midlife adults and in students. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 208–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. MacDonald, S. (1997). The role of socialisation in autobiographical memory in children and adults: A Vygotskian perspective. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  40. McGuigan, F., & Salmon, K. (2004). The time to talk: The influence of the timing of adult-child talk on children’s event memory. Child Development, 75, 669–686.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McLean, K. C. & Breen, A. V. (2009). Processes and content of narrative identity development in adolescence: Gender and well-being. Developmental Psychology, 45, 702–710.Google Scholar
  42. McLean, K. C., Breen, A. V., & Fournier, M. A. (in press). Constructing the self in early, middle, and late adolescent boys: Narrative identity, individuation, and well-being. Journal of Research on Adolescence.Google Scholar
  43. McLean, K., Pasupathi, M., & Pals, J. L. (2007). Selves creating stories creating selves: A process model of self-development. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11, 262–278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McLean, K. C., & Pratt, M. W. (2006). Life’s little (and big) lessons: Identity statuses and meaning-making in the turning point narratives of emerging adults. Developmental Psychology, 42, 714–722.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McLean, K. C., & Thorne, A. (2003). Late adolescents’ self-defining memories about relationships. Developmental Psychology, 39, 635–645.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marin, K., Bohanek, J. G., & Fivush, R. (2008). Positive effects of talking about the negative: Family narratives of negative experiences and preadolescents’ perceived competence. Journal of Research in Adolescence, 18, 573–593.Google Scholar
  47. Michaels, S. (1981). “Sharing time”: Children’s narrative styles and differential access to literacy. Language and Society, 10, 423–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Miller, P. J., & Sperry, L. (1988). Early talk about the past: the origins of conversational stories of personal experience. Journal of Child Language, 15, 293–315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nelson, K., & Fivush, R. (2004). The emergence of autobiographical memory: A social cultural developmental theory. Psychological Review, 111, 486–511.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Newcombe, R., & Reese, E. (2004). Evaluations and orientations in mother-child narratives as a function of attachment security: A longitudinal investigation. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28, 230–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. O’Kearney, R., Speyer, J., & Kenardy, J. (2007). Children’s narrative memory for accidents and their post-traumatic distress. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 821–838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Peterson, C., Jesso, B., & McCabe, A. (1999). Encouraging narratives in preschoolers: An intervention study. Journal of Child Language, 26, 49–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Peterson, C., & McCabe, A. (1983). Developmental psycholinguistics: Three ways of looking at a child’s narrative. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  54. Reese, E. (1999). What children say when they talk about the past. Narrative Inquiry, 9(2), 215–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Reese, E. (2002). Social factors in the development of autobiographical memory: The state of the art. Social Development, 11, 124–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Reese, E. (2008). Maternal coherence in the Adult Attachment Interview is linked to maternal reminiscing and to children‘s self concept. Attachment & Human Development, 10, 451–464.Google Scholar
  57. Reese, E., Bird, A., & Tripp, G. (2007). Children’s self esteem and moral self: Links to parent-child conversations about emotion. Social Development, 16, 460–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Reese, E., & Farrant, K. (2003). Origins of reminiscing in parent-child relationships. In R. Fivush & C. A. Haden (Eds.), Autobiographical memory and the construction of a narrative self: Developmental and cultural perspectives (pp. 29–48). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  59. Reese, E., Haden, C. A., Baker-Ward, L., Bauer, P. J., Fivush, R., & Ornstein, P. (2009). Coherence of personal narratives across the lifespan. A multidimensional model and coding method. Manuscript under review. Google Scholar
  60. Reese, E., Haden, C. A., & Fivush, R. (1993). Mother-child conversations about the past: Relationships of style and memory over time. Cognitive Development, 8, 403–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Reese, E., & Newcombe, R. (2007). Training mothers in elaborative reminiscing enhances children’s autobiographical memory and narrative. Child Development, 78, 1153–1170.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Reese, E., Newcombe, R., & Bird, A. (2006). Social and emotional aspects of autobiographical memory development. In G. Haberman & C. Fletcher-Flinn (Eds.), Cognition, language, and development: Perspectives from New Zealand. Bowen Hills, Queensland: Australian Academic Press.Google Scholar
  63. Singer, J. A. (1995). Seeing one’s self: Locating narrative memory in a framework of personality. Journal of Personality, 63, 429–457.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Singer, J. A., & Moffitt, K. H. (1991–1992). An experimental investigation of specificity and generality in memory narratives. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 11, 233–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Taylor, S. E., & Armor, D. A. (1996). Positive illusions and coping with adversity. Journal of Personality, 64, 873–898.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tustin, K., & Hayne, H. (2009). Defining the boundary: Age-related changes in childhood amnesia. Manuscript under review.Google Scholar
  67. Weeks, T. L., & Pasupathi, M. (this volume). Autonomy, identity, and narrative construction with parents and friends. In K. McLean & M. Pasupathi (Eds.), Narrative development in adolescence: Creating the storied self (pp. 65–92). NY: SpringerGoogle Scholar
  68. Welch-Ross, M. K., Fasig, L., & Farrar, M. J. (1999). Predictors of preschoolers’ self-knowledge: Reference to emotion and mental states in mother-child conversation about past events. Cognitive Development, 14, 401–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elaine Reese
    • 1
  • Chen Yan
    • 1
  • Fiona Jack
    • 1
  • Harlene Hayne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations