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Aging Ment Health. 2014 Sep;18(7):879-88. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2014.896865. Epub 2014 Mar 31.

The development and initial validation of the narrative foreclosure scale.

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a Department of Psychology, Health & Technology , University of Twente , Enschede , The Netherlands.



As people grow older, identity development in later life becomes a more and more relevant topic. Studying processes that hinder or promote identity development in later life is of importance. Within this broader field, there has been a growing interest in narrative foreclosure. Our goal was to develop a short, reliable and easy-to-use instrument measuring narrative foreclosure and to validate this instrument in two samples.


The narrative foreclosure scale (NFS) was validated in two studies with a sample of middle-aged adults (n = 319) and a sample with older adults (n = 174). Several analyses were conducted to assess the psychometric properties, the factor-structure and incremental validity of the scale.


Confirmatory factor analyses generally showed an acceptable fit of the two-factor (NF-Future and NF-Past) model to the data in both samples. Both factors of the NFS demonstrated adequate to good internal consistency, with alpha coefficients ranging from .79 for NF-Past in study 2 to .88 for NF-Future in study 1. Construct validity was good as shown by moderate to large correlations to related constructs. The scale adds a unique portion of explained variance to positive mental health, thereby showing the incremental validity of the NFS.


A reliable scale is now available that allows to study the premature hindering of identity development in older populations. The use of the NFS as a process measure in studies on the effectiveness of interventions aiming at meaning making and identity development, such as life-review therapy and narrative therapy, is also recommended.


mental health measures; positive psychology; quality of life/well-being

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