Narrative identity in schizophrenia

Consciousness and Cognition 19 (1):328-340 (2010)
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Abstract

This study examined narrative identity in a group of 81 patients with schizophrenia and 50 healthy controls through the recall of self-defining memories. The results indicated that patients’ narratives were less coherent and elaborate than those of controls. Schizophrenia patients were severely impaired in the ability to make connections with the self and extract meaning from their memories, which significantly correlated with illness duration. In agreement with earlier research, patients exhibited an early reminiscence bump. Moreover, the period of the reminiscence bump, which is highly relevant for identity development, was characterized by fewer achievements and more life-threatening event experiences, compared with controls. A negative correlation was found between negative symptoms, number of self-event connections and specificity of narratives. Our results suggest that schizophrenia patients have difficulties to organize and extract meaning from their past experiences in order to create coherent personal narratives.

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