Reminiscence functions over time: consistency of self functions and variation of prosocial functions

Norm O’Rourke, David B. King, Philippe Cappeliez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The current study examines the temporal stability of the tripartite model of reminiscence functions in which eight separate reminiscence functions map onto three second-order factors which contribute significantly to measurement of an overarching reminiscence latent construct. We collected online responses from 411 adults 50+ years of age. Confirmatory factor analytic models were computed at three points of data collection over 16 months. Invariance analyses were next undertaken to simultaneously compare the measurement properties to assess within-person stability of reminiscence functions over time. The tripartite structure of reminiscence functions was replicated at each point of data collection. As hypothesised, self-positive and self-negative functions are consistent across points of data collection, whereas prosocial functions vary over time. The temporal stability of the self functions may be attributed to enduring characteristics of the individual such as personality traits and life attitudes, as well as their solitary nature. Previous research indicates that consistency of self-positive reminiscence functions has ensuing benefits for physical health and psychological well-being; the opposite is true for self-negative functions. The temporal variation of prosocial functions may be due to the varying availability of others to share memories and their responsiveness to the emotional context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 16 Mar 2017


  • Invariance analyses
  • older adults
  • psychometric reliability
  • reminiscence functions
  • temporal consistency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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