Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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This study examined the narrative strategies early adolescents use to interpret social incongruence in peer relationships. I hypothesized that these strategies vary in relation to two types of social incongruence, i.e., progressive and regressive incongruence. The participants were 518 students from two middle schools located in the city of Florence, Italy. Each participant read 6 stories dealing with themes of social interaction between two peers. The stories narrated episodes in which protagonists did something that differed greatly from their habitual behavior towards their partners. Three types of behavior (prosocial, aggressive, and neutral) were depicted, and there were two story types, with three stories ending in negative, violating acts (regressive stories) and three stories ending in positive ones (progressive stories). The students were told to try to imagine what had happened before the culminating act and to write a story describing those events. The students' narrative strategies were analyzed by examining the dependent variables of locus of antecedent attribution (protagonist vs. environment) and verb use indicating actions or mental events. The two types of stories produced different results, which varied according to how the students used the two strategies: Progressive stories were mainly completed with antecedents consisting in cognitions or intentions being attributed to protagonists; regressive stories were more frequently completed with antecedents consisting in the attribution of actions to the environment. Both strategies seemed to have the same effect, that of defending a protagonist's position by mitigating his or her responsibility for aggressive acts and by emphasizing it for prosocial ones. The results are discussed in terms of a cultural hypothesis. (StoryTypes, Incongruence, Interpretation, Antecedents)


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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