The repeated narration of specific events and identity stability in midlife.

In this case study–based qualitative analysis, we sought to examine the question of stability in narrative identity. We did this by examining four midlife adults, who each provided two life story interviews, 4 years apart as a part of a larger study. Two of these participants were deemed “low repeaters,” for having little repetition of manifest narrative content (i.e., actual events repeated at the two interviews). Two were deemed “high repeaters” for having a much greater number of repeated manifest content. Our analysis focused on similarities between the low repeaters and the high repeaters, as well as the differences between them, with the aim of theory building in the domain of narrative identity stability. Broadly, our analyses revealed that low repetition can occur for a variety of reasons, including methodological factors, the occurrence of new life events between interviews, and traumatic history. High repetition can also occur for multiple reasons, including performative concerns and conformity to cultural norms regarding life scripts. We offer these analyses as fodder for building theory regarding the phenomenology of identity stability and its meaning for psychological functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)