Intergenerational narratives: How collective family stories Relate to adolescents’ emotional well-being
ResumoAn important form of collective memory is family stories. In this study we focus on intergenerational narratives, defined as stories that children know about their parents’ childhoods. Intergenerational narratives create meaning beyond the individual and provide a sense of self through historical time and in relation to family members, and thus may facilitate positive identity and well-being. Especially during adolescence, when issues of identity and emotional regulation become critical developmental tasks, intergenerational narratives may be related to emotional well-being. Sixty-five mostly white, middle class 13- to 16-year old adolescents were asked to narrate stories about their mothers’ and fathers’ childhoods. Adolescents who told intergenerational narratives that included the perspective of their parent, and drew more intergenerational connections between parent and self, showed higher levels of emotional well-being. However, these relations only hold for female adolescents narrating stories about their mother’s childhood. Explanations and implications of these findings for the role of collective memory in adolescent development are discussed.
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