Developing a model of narrative analysis to investigate the role of social support in coping with traumatic war memories

Karen Burnell, Nigel Hunt, Peter Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Within clinical and health psychology, narrative is used to understand how people make meaning of events that challenge one's believes about the self and the world e.g. the diagnosis of an illness or the experience of a traumatic event. This paper introduces a model of narrative analysis that can provide insight into the ways in which people make meaning of traumatic events and the types of resources that aid or hinder this process. The model, an adaptation of grounded narrative analysis (Murray, 2003), was applied at two levels (narrative form and narrative content) to the narratives of British male veterans of World War II (WWII) and post WWII veterans up to and including the Iraq war (2003-). Narrative form concerned the coherence of the narrative, which was defined as an oriented, structured, affectively consistent, and integrated narrative, indicative of the reconciliation. Narrative content focused on the social support experiences of the veterans. Through this two level analysis, it was possible to make theoretical links between the types of social support that aid the meaning making process and help veterans to reconcile their experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-105
JournalNarrative Inquiry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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