Words of Wisdom:

"live your life like it is your last day" - Tomhellewell


  • Date Submitted: 02/21/2013 01:26 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 34.3 
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Introduces this special issue on "Narrative gerontology." This term (e.g., G. M. Kenyon et al, 1999) is intended as a heuristic for the study of aging. Its purpose is to emphasize and coordinate a particular set of insights about both the aging process itself and how to investigate it. As the word "narrative" implies, its main agenda for gerontological theory, research, and practice is to explore the entailments of the metaphor of "life as story." Rather than a specific theory or method, then, narrative gerontology is best understood as a lens though which to view the aging process, a unique way of seeing what aging involves. At the same time, it is grounded in a set of assumptions that reflect ontological, epistemological, and methodological levels of discourse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

In the life story, autobiographical remembering and self-understanding are combined to create a coherent account of one's past. A gap is demonstrated between developmental research on the story-organization of autobiographical remembering of events in childhood and of life narratives in adulthood. This gap is bridged by substantiating D. P. McAdams's (1985) claim that the life story develops in adolescence. Two manifestations of the life story, life narratives and autobiographical reasoning, are delineated in terms of 4 types of global coherence (temporal, biographical, causal, and thematic). A review of research shows that the cognitive tools necessary for constructing global coherence in a life story and the social-motivational demands to construct a life story develop during adolescence. The authors delineate the implications of the life story framework for other research areas such as coping, attachment, psychotherapeutic process, and the organization of autobiographical memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)


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