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Narrative Identity in Psychopathology: A Negative Past and a Bright but Foreshortened Future

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We examined narrative identity as a possible transdiagnostic marker of psychopathology by interviewing individuals with schizophrenia, individuals with depression and a nonclinical control group about past and future chapters in their life stories. Participants were 20 patients with schizophrenia, 20 patients with depression, and 20 nonclinical control participants matched on age, gender, and education. Participants described up to 10 chapters in their past and future life stories and self-rated chapters on emotional tone and self-event connections. In addition, cognitive function and current levels of symptoms was assessed. Both patient groups self-rated their past chapters as more negative and less positive compared to the control group, but did not differ from each other. There were no group differences in positivity of future chapters, but both patient groups identified fewer future chapters with shorter temporal projections. The results are consistent with the notion that negative past aspects of narrative identity are a transdiagnostic marker of psychopathology, while also suggesting that individuals with mental illness construct a positive future, which may support hope.

TidsskriftPsychiatry Research
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2020

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