Corresponding Author Information: Julia Dimitrova

Session Abstract: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Narrative coherence serves as an index of the unity in an individual's sense of self ”integrating their past self with their present self and allowing them to pursue meaningful goals for their future" and can be assessed using the Life Story Interview. Personality functioning is used to describe an individual's ability to develop stable and integrated representations of the self and others, as well as their ability to develop and maintain stable, intimate, and affiliative relationships, and meaningfully empathize with others.

SUBJECTS: 134 participants in psychiatric treatment currently or within the past two years

METHODS: We studied the links between narrative coherence and personality functioning in a psychiatric sample (N = 134), and more generally studied the nomological net surrounding narrative coherence.  We used coded transcripts of the Life Story Interview and various self-report and clinician-rated measures (e.g., LPFS, PID-5, SCID-II, and IDAS).

ANALYSES: We evaluated narrative coherence as a marker of personality functioning, both at the zero-order level and controlling for important demographic variables using hierarchical linear regression.

RESULTS: Results revealed that narrative coherence does not serve as a marker of personality functioning. However, we found evidence of an association between narrative coherence and measures of extraversion and psychosocial functioning. CONCLUSIONS: This study represents an important step in integrating narrative identity with empirically-derived structural models of personality pathology and psychopathology. However, we would argue that before additional analyses of this sort are undertaken that more empirical work on the nature of narrative coherence is needed. The current study is in line with past work which shows that, despite the high inter-correlations, the dimensions of this construct do not all bear the same associations with other measures. As such, further exploration and replication of these findings is still needed before clear conclusions can be drawn.


Julia Dimitrova | University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

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