|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging|
|Editors||Susan Krauss Whitbourne|
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - 2015|
The life story is a narrative of a person's past, present, and future. The term may refer to either an extended autobiographical account (typically written or told) that a person provides about his or her life or an internalized and integrative story of the self that functions (in the mind and in society) as a person's narrative identity. Life stories vividly convey lived human experience while expressing how people find meaning and purpose in life. Research suggests that people are first able to construe their full lives as ongoing narratives in the adolescent years. Up through midlife, life stories tend to increase in complexity and psychological sophistication, and in the later years stories tend to emphasize positive emotional themes. Culture provides the master narratives and frameworks of meaning for the construction of life stories.