Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California San Francisco, United States; Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, United States; Center for Health and Community, University of California San Francisco, United States. Electronic address: [Email]
Chronic caregiving stress may accelerate biological aging; however, the ability to integrate the meaning of caregiving through self-awareness, adaptation, and growth can buffer the negative effects of stress. Narrative researchers have shown that people who coherently integrate difficult experiences into their life story tend to have better mental health, but no prior study has examined the prospective association between narrative identity and biological indicators, such as telomere length. We tested whether narrative identity might be prospectively associated with resilience to long-term parenting stress, depressive symptoms, and protection from telomere shortening, especially among caregivers.