Storytelling and Coping With Stressful Events

Shelley E. Taylor, Lisa G. Aspinwall, Traci A. Giuliano, Gayle A Dakof, Kathleen K. Reardon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Three studies explored the coping benefits and limitations of stories people hear about others undergoing similar stressful events. In Study One, cancer patients reported that positive stories about other patients were preferable to and more helpful than negative stories, yet negative stories were more commonly told. Study Two manipulated the valence and source of stories told to college students facing midterm exams. Stories with positive endings and those relayed by expert sources were regarded more positively than negative stories and those told by nonexperts. Study Three manipulated the valence and informativeness of stories in a similar college sample. Positive and informative stories were rated more favorably, although these effects were independent of each other. Implications for social comparison and social support are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-733
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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