When Does a Wedding Mark the Beginning of a New Chapter in One’s Life?
Life story chapters may be formed in relation to substantial and enduring changes in material circumstances, and we explored this idea by capitalizing on naturally occurring variations in the change of material circumstances associated with marriage. In two studies, we asked participants to report whether they cohabitated before marriage and whether they relocated in connection with marriage, using these as proxies for material change. Participants described their wedding and rated it on memory characteristics along with scales measuring material change, psychological change, and centrality to identity. Next, they identified chapters within the romantic domain of their lives. Finally, they placed the wedding memory in a chapter and marked the temporal location of the memory on a timeline representing the chapter. In study 2, not cohabitating before marriage was associated with greater likelihood of locating the wedding memory as a starting point for a chapter. The results provide some support for the role of material change in shaping the formation of chapters.
Kirkegaard Thomsen, D., Talarico, J., M., & Steiner, K. L. (2021). When does a wedding mark the beginning of a new chapter in one’s life?. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 62(5). http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12754