The narrative structure of stressful interpersonal events
Narrating personal experiences helps people make sense of them and contributes to improved well-being. However, little is known about how people recount stressful experiences that are interpersonal in nature. In this study, middle-aged North American women (N = 36), with lifetime histories of victimization, provided accounts of a recent stressful interpersonal event. High Point Analysis was applied to analyze the narratives. The majority (55%) of narratives were characterized by extensive evaluative content, categorized as End at High Point. The next most common (38%) category of responses were Emotional Narratives, characterized by a concentration of evaluative statements with little or no complicating action. Thus, participants’ memories of their stressful interpersonal events were caught in an unresolved, emotionally charged, limbo. Results reveal a novel approach to analyzing narratives of interpersonal stressors, and shed light on the relationship between victimization histories and narration of interpersonal experiences.
Keywords: High Point Analysis, stressful events, interpersonal encounters
Published online: 10 March 2020
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