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Self-gifting and Temporal Selves: Insights from First-time Older Motherhood

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/05/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychology and Marketing
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date8/05/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Prior literature has long established self-gifts as a form of symbolic self-communication that can be particularly meaningful and impactful for individuals to enhance self-concept clarity and self-definition during life transitions. However, little is known about how life transitions may bring about changes in the practices and meanings of self-gifting. Drawing on individual interviews with twenty-two first-time older mothers, this research uses temporal self-appraisal theory as the theoretical lens and temporal landmarks as a sensitizing framework to explore how people’s past, present and future selves may unfold and interact in influencing their self-gifting practices and meanings. Our findings contribute to a fuller understanding of the temporal nature of self-gifting by highlighting the varying self-gifting orientations that emerge from the interaction, reflecting changes in temporal self-appraisals and how they enable a sense of self-(dis)continuity for psychological wellbeing. The temporal perspective of self-gifts offers a theoretical framework for understanding how self-gifts, a form of symbolic self-communication, express, manage or facilitate perceived self-changes and the need for self-continuity. The marketing implications and applications of the theoretical framework are also discussed.