Date of Award

1993

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Renee Edwards

Abstract

Self-presentation is a response to internal and external demands for self-verification. The telling of personal narratives is one form of presenting self to others that begins early in life, and crosses racial, ethnic, and cultural boundaries. Not only do we present ourselves through narrative, those with whom we are socially involved present us to others through narrative. The primary purpose of this study was to examine how well one's perception of self is communicated to familiar others. Secondarily, this study explored the impact of sex differences and relationship type on the success of this communication. One hundred targets each brought a friend, relative, or spouse (perceiver) to the experiment. The target and perceiver were separated and given a series of questionnaires to complete. The primary target questionnaire focused on description of self, while the primary perceiver questionnaire required description of the target. The target was then asked to tell a personal narrative, while the perceiver told a narrative about the target. Findings include (1) self-concept is presented through personal narrative, (2) such self-presentations function as impression management, (3) view of other is presented through narrative, (4) narrative presentation of a familiar other reflects the familiar other's self-concept, (5) men and women do not differ in their knowledge of familiar others, (6) female targets are not better known than male targets, and (7) elements of relational history such as relatedness, longevity, and knowledge of other may impact the accuracy of presentations of familiar others.

Pages

150

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