Narrative coherence predicts emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic: a two-year longitudinal study

Cognition and Emotion 36 (1):70-81 (2022)
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Abstract

Prior research has shown that narrative coherence is associated with more positive emotional responses in the face of traumatic or stressful experiences. However, most of these studies only examined narrative coherence after the stressor had already occurred. Given the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 in March 2020 in Belgium and the presence of data obtained two years before (February 2018), we could use our baseline narrative coherence data to predict emotional well-being and perceived social support in the midst of the pandemic. In a sample of emerging adults (NT1 = 278, NT2 = 198), higher baseline coherence of narratives about positive autobiographical experiences predicted relative increases in emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the relation between the coherence of positive narratives and emotional well-being was partially mediated by perceived social support. These findings suggest that narrative coherence could be an enhancement factor for adaptive emotional coping with stressful situations, in part by evoking more supportive social reactions. This study demonstrates the importance of researching cognition (narrative coherence) and emotion (well-being) to shed light on pressing societal matters such as the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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References found in this work

Expressive writing can increase working memory capacity.Kitty Klein & Adriel Boals - 2001 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 130 (3):520.

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