Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John-Paul Legerski


The way in which memories are stored and communicated makes the construction of autobiographical memories (AM) both an internal process and a social occurrence. Strong associations between reduced AM specificity and psychological adjustment have been found; however, the role significant others have in the socialization and co-construction of AM may have be overlooked. This study examines whether the process of sharing AMs and the perceived benefits of sharing these memories are associated with differences in specificity of AM, as well as explores methodological differences in how AMs are collected. Data from 177 participants was collected on the Most Important Memories Scale (MIMS), Autobiographical Memory Task (AMT), and other measures to control for depression, avoidance, rumination, and executive functioning. Results indicate the emerging adults most commonly share significant life events with close friends, verbally in person, for the purposes of self-explanation and validation. Perceiving sharing as beneficial, and higher specificity on positive AMT cues, were found to be significant predictors of retrieving a specific memory on the MIMS. Few significant gender differences were found in sharing practices, and no significant gender differences were found in specificity. The limitations and future directions for this research are discussed.