Writing about life story chapters increases self-esteem: Three experimental studies.

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present three studies was to examine experimentally whether writing about life story chapters would increase self-esteem, self-concept clarity, and meaning. METHOD: In study 1, 179 participants rated state self-esteem and self-concept clarity before and after they described either four important life story chapters or four famous Americans. In study 2, 141 new participants completed a similar procedure to study 1 and then returned two days later to complete the procedure a second time. In study 3, 101 community dwelling adults completed a similar procedure to study 1, but responded to full scales measuring self-concept clarity, self-esteem, and mood. RESULTS: In all the studies, writing about four important life story chapters increased the ratings of self-esteem, whereas writing about four famous Americans did not. CONCLUSION: The studies show that writing about chapters in life stories can increase self-esteem and suggest that constructing positive self-worth may be an important function of life stories.
  • Authors

  • Steiner, Kristina L
  • Pillemer, David
  • Thomsen, Dorthe Kirkegaard
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 2019
  • Published In


  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration
  • New Hampshire
  • Self Concept
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Writing
  • Young Adult
  • chapters
  • life stories
  • meaning
  • self-concept clarity
  • self-esteem
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 30570756
  • Start Page

  • 962
  • End Page

  • 980
  • Volume

  • 87
  • Issue

  • 5