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TALE OF THREE FUNCTIONS

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has been validated in reference to personality measures and the con- vergence of the subscales with life-phase concerns (Webster, 1995, 1997; Webster & McCall, 1999). The instructions for the RFS are: “At different points throughout their lives, most adults think about their past. Recalling earlier times can happen spontaneously or deliber- ately, privately or with other people, and may involve remembering both happy and sad episodes. The process of recalling memories from our personal past is called reminiscence, an activity engaged in by adults of all ages. This questionnaire concerns the why, or func- tions, of reminiscence . . . ” The RFS has eight subscales, including boredom reduction, death preparation, identity, problem solving, conversation, intimacy maintenance (with those who have passed on), bitterness revival, and teach/inform others. The stem statement for each item is “When I reminisce it is to . . .” Participants rate how often they reminisce for each reason using a 6–point Likert–type scale that ranges from never (1) to very frequently (6).

RESULTS

The results are presented in four parts. First, the results of an explor- atory factor analysis of the TALE are presented. In the next section the factors are interpreted, followed by a reporting of reliability and descriptive information on the subscales. Finally, analyses concern- ing convergent validity with the RFS are presented.

EXPLORATORY FACTOR ANALYSIS OF THE TALE

Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted with the 28–item TALE questionnaire to determine whether the three theoretical func- tions of AM would emerge. We chose to use EFA for a variety of rea- sons. First, the theoretical claim that there are directive, self, and social functions of AM is widespread in the AM literature, but is a rel- atively new assertion (see Bluck & Alea, 2002; Cohen, 1998; Pillemer, 1992) that is often implicit, not explicit, and that has been tested in very few empirical studies. Thus, without either a well–articulated theoretical model or a strong empirical foundation, a confirmatory factor analysis seemed inappropriate at this time (see Stevens, 1996, for a discussion of this issue). Instead, the EFA is used here to provide preliminary empirical evidence that can be used to further develop theory. Second, an EFA was chosen instead of the commonly used

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