The role of narrative in personality psychology today

Dan P. McAdams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Over the past 25 years, narrative theories and methods have helped to revitalize the discipline of personality psychology by providing new tools and concepts for discerning the inner patterning and meaning of human lives and by helping to recontextualize personality studies in terms of culture, gender, class, ethnicity, and the social ecology of everyday life. This article (a) briefly traces recent historical developments in personality psychology as they relate to the increasing influence of narrative approaches; (b) describes a three-tiered conceptual framework for understanding personality in terms of dispositional traits, characteristic adaptations, and life stories; and (c) illustrates one important research program on life stories in personality - studies of the redemptive self.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalNarrative Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Life Stories
  • Personality
  • The Redemptive Self
  • Traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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