personal story in the world of psychology is termed narrative identity and is defined by McAdams and Mclean (2013) as a “person’s internalized and evolving life story, integrating the reconstructed past and imagined future to provide life with some degree of unity and purpose.” Narrative identity is a piece of the personality puzzle that merges with traits we are born with and stay mostly stable throughout life (dispositional traits such as extroversion and friendliness), and traits that have grown out of the world we live in that make us individuals (characteristic adaptations like values, goals, and interests). If depositional traits are the personality’s foundation and frame and the characteristic adaptations fill in the spaces for the walls and roof, narrative identity is what makes the house a home.
he ability to form a narrative identity is found in late adolescents as the brain continues to mature and new cognitive advancements mix with social concerns to pose the big questions of “who am I” and “where am I going?” This new angst filled “sense of possibilities” is a key component in a period that Clark University psychology professor Jeffrey Jensen Arnett (2007) calls the emerging adult.
merging adulthood is an evolving idea that looks at a growing body of evidence which studies the life stage that bridges the gap between adolescents and adulthood. Much of the recent data reveals the age that traditional adult roles such as finding a partner, acquiring full time work, having children and buying a home are being delayed (Marantz Henig 2010). The reasons for this growing separation are many and cannot be simplified, but what is clear is the emerging adult is left with an unchained gap in time where roles and attachments of teens years (family, school, mentors, clubs, sports, church) are being left behind and adult roles and attachments are viewed as something to be dealt with when the time and circumstance are right for the individual.