Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria - Exploring Maori narrative identity development and the link to adolescent well-being.
Telling a coherent, elaborate, and meaningful life story is a vital part of adolescent narrative identity development and of psychological well-being. The current research investigated the development of three levels of personality (narrative identity, dispositional traits and characteristic adaptations) for Māori adolescents in Aotearoa New Zealand. I also explored the links between personality development and psychological well-being for Māori adolescents. Three studies were carried out in the current thesis. The first study was a cross-sectional exploration of narrative identity development for ninety-one Māori adolescents and emerging adults aged 12-to-20-years-old. Narrative identity was measured within critical life events using critical and thematic coherence measures. Psychological well-being was measured using a well-being factor and pro-social behaviour. Study 2 was a smaller longitudinal exploration of narrative coherence development for 31 younger adolescents from Study 1. Study 2 also tested for possible directional effects in the relationship between narrative coherence and psychological well-being. Finally, Study 3 was a qualitative study examining 12 life stories of adolescents and emerging adults, for critical event themes using thematic analysis. The main finding showed that Māori adolescents and emerging adults did not show age-related increases for causal coherence previously established with New Zealand European adolescents. There was, however, an age effect in the link between narrative coherence and well-being: only in emerging adulthood was this link positive. Longitudinal results showed that adolescent narrative coherence and well-being are bidirectional in nature. Younger adolescents already experiencing lower well-being also had ruminative tendencies. Finally, thematic analysis highlighted themes showing the importance of whānau, especially the role of grandparents, for Māori adolescent resilience and well-being. Overall, the three studies showed developmental and cultural differences in the link between narrative coherence development and psychological well-being for Māori adolescents and emerging adults. A connection to wider whānau remains crucial for Māori well-being. Future programmes aiming to increase Māori adolescent well-being should focus on strengthening ties with extended family.
Advisor: Reese, Elaine
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Wellbeing; Adolescence; Maori; Narrative identity
Research Type: Thesis