Adolescents’ meaningful memories reflect a trajectory of self-development from family over school to friends.

Radka Antalikova, Tia G. B. Hansen, Knut Arild Gulbrandsen, Manuel de la Mata Benitez, Andres Santamaria

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between autobiographical memories and self is important in many theories. Promising recent approaches from cross-cultural psychology use a concept of “self-construal”, in which reference to others can be as important as indicators of autonomy. However, these studies typically ask for earliest memories only, whereas we would expect the roles of others to change over the course of development. Taking as a premise that adolescents’ life unfolds in three concurrent settings – family, school, and friendship – we asked 66 adolescents (22 Norwegians in Study 1, and 40 Slovaks in Study 2) for a meaningful memory from each of these settings. The memories they selected from the family setting were oldest, school memories intermediate and friend memories most recent, suggesting a developmental trajectory in which the three settings have changed in importance. Memories from the friendship setting were also most frequently on their mind. Furthermore, family memories referred most to other people, friend memories marginally less and school memories least, suggesting different contributions of these settings to self-construal. We conclude that characteristics of adolescents’ meaningful memories reflect shifting settings’ dominance during development and complementary roles of family, school and friends for adolescents’ current self-construal.
Translated title of the contributionUnges vigtige erindringer danner en udviklingssti fra familie over skole til venner
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Psychology (Online)
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)4-24
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Adolescence
  • Self-construal
  • Autobiographical memory


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