Personal narratives as a predictor of trait change and state fluctuations in self-esteem and life satisfaction during the transition from education to work

Lotte van Doeselaar*, Anne K. Reitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Narrative identities are not only a product of lived experiences, but also predict new experiences and developmental outcomes over time. In this study, we examined whether the characteristics of students' narratives about a previous turning point in their lives predicted self-esteem and life satisfaction during their education-to-work transition. We examined predictions of trait change and of stability in state self-esteem and life satisfaction in daily life. Students (aged 24 years on average) in diverse master's programs in the Netherlands who expected to graduate before the end of the study took part in an 8-month longitudinal (n = 216) and 14-day diary (n = 192) part of the study. Our findings show that more agentic and redemptive turning point narratives did not predict significant change in trait self-esteem and life satisfaction during the next 8 months of the transition. Narrative agency and redemption were no consistent significant predictors of higher day-to-day stability in state self-esteem and life satisfaction. Yet, higher levels in narrative agency tended to be associated with higher stability in daily self-esteem. Our findings show promising possibilities to further examine how and when the characteristics of people's narratives relate to the development and stability of psychological adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-35
JournalIdentity
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Self-esteem
  • life satisfaction
  • daily diary
  • narrative identity
  • work transition
  • IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT
  • MENTAL-HEALTH
  • INSTABILITY
  • LEVEL
  • EVENTS
  • ADAPTATION
  • REDEMPTION
  • ADJUSTMENT
  • STABILITY
  • VALIDITY

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