Memories of the self in adolescence: examining 6558 self-image norms

Emily Hards, Judi Ellis , Jennifer Fisk, Shirley Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adolescence is a critical developmental period. It involves the construction and consolidation of “the self” and the laying down of autobiographical memories that endure throughout life. There is limited data that examines how young people spontaneously describe their “self”. The aim of the current study is to provide normative data of adolescent generated self-images and present this in a freely accessible database. A secondary aim is to compare adult and adolescent self-images. Young people (n = 822) aged 13–18 years completed the Twenty Statements Test a task that requires participants to generate their own self-images. Data were coded into “Self-image norms” according to the method devised by Rathbone and Moulin [2017. Exploring memories of the self: 2412 self-image norms for adults aged 17 to 88. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(1445), doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01445]. Descriptive data showed that positive “Traits” were most often used by adolescents to describe “the self”. There were few gender differences, but boys generated fewer self-images than girls. Adolescents were more likely to use “Traits” to describe their “self” and adults were more likely to use “Social roles.” These data are the first set of self-images generated by adolescents, collated in a freely accessible database. They can be used to understand how “the self” is described by adolescents and will be useful for cueing autobiographical memories in young people.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Pages (from-to)1011
Number of pages1017
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019


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