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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Meaning-Making, Connectedness, and Legacy: Examining the Benefits of Storytelling in an Aging Population
by Murphy, Elizabeth L., Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2021, 154; 28316943
Abstract (Summary)

As the number of older adults increases substantially over the next few years, aging well is a priority. Navigating the later stages of life and developmental goals of meaning-making, life purpose, and meaningful relationships can be challenging. Narratives and stories can provide the framework and tools to help people successfully make sense of themselves, their lives, and bridge connections with others. According to narrative and developmental theory, the need for storytelling increases as one gets older because the benefits of reflection, revising, and sharing one’s story can foster meaningful connections and leave a legacy spanning generations. Research about narrative and storytelling in the later stages of life is limited. However, key theories and research suggest that storytelling and digital storytelling among older adults may benefit positive aging. An in-depth look at the storytelling experience of adults primarily in their 70s and 80s provides insight into storytelling, technology, and their perceptions of meaning-making, connectedness, and legacy. This research study supports storytelling as a positive activity to aid later life stage goals and needs. Connectedness was found to be vitally important and an excellent tool for meaning-making and feeling validated. Legacy and technological applications of storytelling were appreciated but not as important. Applications of this research and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rutledge, Pamela B.
Commitee: Hogg, Jerri Lynn, Ohler, Jason, Kaufman, David M.
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: The School of Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Developmental psychology, Social psychology
Keywords: Connectedness, Meaning-making, Narrative, Older adults, Positive aging, Storytelling
Publication Number: 28316943
ISBN: 9798569982264
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