BLUCK ET AL.
senting this function all concerned who I am now, if and how I have changed, and how I have stayed the same over time. Together, these point clearly at a self function of AM that allows individuals to have and maintain a biographical identity (e.g., McAdams, 2001) and to be able to maintain a coherent self–concept across an entire lifespan (Cohen, 1998), even in the face of developmental change and life events.
Convergent validity with the RFS showed significant overlap, but not duplication, of the RFS Identity subscale. Thus, it appears that whether individuals are asked to consider why they reminisce about individual episodes (as they are in the RFS) or they are asked to con- sider why they think back over and try to integrate past life periods with their present life, self–continuity and identity maintenance emerge as central uses of AM. In addition to convergence with the RFS, the Self function was related more strongly to global ratings of thinking about one’s past than to talking about it. Of course, the func- tions of AM may be served through privately remembering and con- sidering past events, or through sharing them with others, or both. Moreover, it appears that the endorsement of the Self function as im- portant, at least as measured by the TALE, occurs in conjunction with a person’s overall tendency to think about his or her past. This pri- vate, evaluative recall and consideration of one’s past has been re- ferred to as “life reflection” that may potentially lead to self-insight and, in some cases, self-growth (Staudinger, 2001).
The Social Function. What we had conceived of as a unitary Social function of AM seems actually to be best reflected as two social func- tions: Developing Relationships and Nurturing Relationships. Though this finding suggests four empirical functions, the concep- tual closeness of these two social functions makes us cautious when interpreting these findings. Each of these factors also had the mini- mum number of items allowable (i.e., three) to be considered a factor (Cliff & Hamburger, 1967). The two factors may have formed be- cause the items that load on each of the factors reflect different phases in relationships. Thus, we have learned from these analyses that the Social function may have two main manifestations: learning about another’s life in order to form a new relationship and main- taining warmth (e.g., empathy) and social bonding in existing rela- tionships. Future research could examine how individual variables, such as gender, personality, and age, might dictate the extent to which initiating versus maintaining relationships are important so-