The good and the bad in black and white: Stories of life's high and low points told by black and white midlife adults in America

Ariana F. Turner*, Nathan G. Couch, Henry R. Cowan, Rembrandt Otto-Meyer, Prianka Murthy, Regina L. Logan, Leoandra O. Rogers, Dan P. McAdams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper explores how Black and White Americans narrate the “highs” (emotionally positive) and “lows” (emotionally negative) of their life story. Study 1 was conducted on the life stories of 75 Black and White Americans in 1996 as a pilot study of race differences in narrative themes. In Study 2, we performed a large-scale empirical examination of thematic differences in the personal narratives of 160 Black and White Americans. As predicted, both studies found that Black participants were more likely than their White counterparts to describe a dangerous world in their experiences while White participants placed more emphasis on personal development. In Study 2, moreover, Black participants prioritized the theme of perseverance to a greater extent than did Whites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104298
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Volume101
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Ethnicity
  • Narrative identity
  • Personality
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • General Psychology

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