The Psychology of Life Stories

Dan P. McAdams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1159 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed an upsurge of interest among theorists and researchers in autobiographical recollections, life stories, and narrative approaches to understanding human behavior and experience. An important development in this context is D. P. McAdams's life story model of identity (1985, 1993, 1996), which asserts that people living in modern societies provide their lives with unity and purpose by constructing internalized and evolving narratives of the self. The idea that identity is a life story resonates with a number of important themes in developmental, cognitive, personality, and cultural psychology. This article reviews and integrates recent theory and research on life stories as manifested in investigations of self-understanding, autobiographical memory, personality structure and change, and the complex relations between individual lives and cultural modernity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-122
Number of pages23
JournalReview of General Psychology
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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