We propose an interdisciplinary developmental model of narrative redemption. Although redemption is one of the most thoroughly studied constructs in the narrative identity literature, research to date has not sufficiently addressed the qualitative structures of redemption, which in turn has led to a lack of attention to the developmental functions that redemption serves in different periods of the life span. Based on a review of existing perspectives on redemption across a variety of disciplines, we propose 2 forms of redemption – return and emergent – that correspond to the dual functions of the life story – stability and change. These forms of redemption also interact with the thematic focus of the narrative, which constitutes the second component of our model. Namely, narratives may emphasize either situation themes or identity themes. We use this revised conceptualization of the structures of redemption to explore the developmental functions of redemption, both theoretically and through narrative examples. We conclude that redemption is an autobiographical tool that can be adapted for different psychosocial functions across the life span.

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