Author First name, Last name, Institution

Christin Camia, Zayed University
Rida Zafar, NYU Abu Dhabi

Document Type


Source of Publication

Frontiers in Psychology

Publication Date



Forced migration changes people’s lives and their sense of self-continuity fundamentally. One memory-based mechanism to protect the sense of self-continuity and psychological well-being is autobiographical meaning making, enabling individuals to explain change in personality and life by connecting personal experiences and other distant parts of life to the self and its development. Aiming to replicate and extend prior research, the current study investigated whether autobiographical meaning making has the potential to support the sense of self-continuity in refugees. We therefore collected life narratives from 31 refugees that were coded for autobiographical reasoning, selfevent connections, and global narrative coherence. In line with prior research, results suggest that autobiographical meaning making relates to a higher sense of selfcontinuity and less psychological distress. Yet, if refugees experienced many continuing postdisplacement stressors in addition to their forced displacement, autobiographical meaning making was associated with higher self-discontinuity and greater psychological distress, especially with trauma-related symptoms such as memory intrusion and hyperarousal. Altogether, results indicate that autobiographical meaning making helps to compensate the effects of extreme biographical disruptions on the sense of selfcontinuity, as long as the stress caused by the biographical change is not overwhelming or too protracted.


Frontiers Media SA




Computer Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Autobiographical reasoning, Life narrative, Meaning making, Personal identity, Well-being

Scopus ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access


Open Access Type

Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series