Reflecting on self-relevant experiences: adult age differences.


A broad array of research findings suggest that older adults, as compared with younger adults, have a more positive sense of self and possibly a clearer and more consistent sense of self. Further, older adults report lower motivation to construct or maintain a sense of self. In the present study, we examined whether such differences in self-views were reflected in features of older and younger adults' narratives and narrating practices around recent, self-relevant events. Narratives about self-discrepant and self-confirming events were elicited from a sample of younger (18-37 years of age; n = 115) and older (58-90 years of age; n = 62) adults and were compared for indicators of engagement in self-construction, meanings, and emotionality. Older adults' narratives contained significantly fewer self-focused pronouns, less present tense, and less emotional language, and they were significantly less likely to articulate and resolve challenges to their self-concepts. These findings, as well as others, are consistent with the idea that older adults are less engaged in self-construction in narrating everyday events, perhaps especially for self-discrepant events.

DOI: 10.1037/a0018098

Cite this paper

@article{Rice2010ReflectingOS, title={Reflecting on self-relevant experiences: adult age differences.}, author={Cora Rice and Monisha Pasupathi}, journal={Developmental psychology}, year={2010}, volume={46 2}, pages={479-90} }