Narrative Identity’s Nomological Network: Expanding and Organizing Assessment of the Storied Self


  • William Dunlop


The life story, or narrative identity, is a psychosocial construction that brings together and integrates the self and experience within a broad story-based framework. Personality psychologists typically capture aspects of this inner story by prompting participants for descriptions of life chapters and/or specific and self-definitional autobiographical key scenes (e.g., high points, low points, turning points). Features of participants’ responses are then quantified for their thematic and/or structural content. There exists a number of additional and complementary assessment techniques that could buttress study of, and theory pertaining to, narrative identity. Here, I work to identify these assessments, which include self-reports, informant reports, and behavioral observations, and organize them within narrative identity’s nomological network. This work concludes with a number of suggestions for the ways in which traditional assessments may be better attuned to capture narrative identity’s integrative nature.