Personal and intergenerational narratives in relation to adolescents' well-being

New Dir Child Adolesc Dev. Spring 2011;2011(131):45-57. doi: 10.1002/cd.288.


Narratives of the self are embedded within families in which narrative interaction is a common practice. Especially in adolescence, when issues of identity and emotional regulation become key, narratives provide frameworks for understating self and emotion. The authors' research on family narratives suggests that adolescents' personal narratives are at least partly shaped by intergenerational narratives about their parents' childhoods. Both personal and intergenerational narratives emerge frequently in typical family dinner conversations, and these narratives reflect gendered ways of being in the world. Adolescents who tell intergenerational narratives that are rich in intergenerational connections and perspective-taking show higher levels of well-being. These findings suggest that individual narrative selves are created within families and across generations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Culture
  • Emotions
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Narration*
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Psychometrics
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Tape Recording