Annie O'Brien
Applied Psychology / Year 4

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Annie O'Brien

Annie O'Brien

Applied Psychology

Year 4

  • Project Title Narrative Writing as a Therapeutic Means to Self Discrepancy Theory
  • Course BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology
  • Year 4
  • Contact Info anniekayobrien@gmail.com

Narrative Writing: a Therapeutic Means to Self Discrepancy Theory

The aim of this study was to investigate if narrative writing can decrease self-discrepancy by acting as a therapeutic tool for self-regulation, self-understanding, and self-growth.

Project Description

This study proposes that narrative writing can decrease self-discrepancy by acting as a therapeutic tool for self-regulation, self-understanding, and self-growth. Self-discrepancy theory states that individuals are motivated to work towards integrating the real, ought and ideal selves to achieve a “whole” self-concept. Establishing a timeline of personal events can allow a writer to isolate and understand the true roots of problems. This allows for the formation of a narrative identity, which is how one views themselves as an active role in their own life-story.

Project Findings

Real self-discrepancy was decreased after a narrative writing exercise that employed an open-prompt, allowing for unrestrictive self-expression. An interaction effect was found between the writing intervention and writing prompt. The expressive writing prompt had a significant impact on participants’ real self-discrepancy after the writing intervention. This study has taken a new approach to the theory of self-discrepancy.

Annie O'Brien
Applied Psychology / Year 4