Celebrating fifty years of research and applications in reminiscence and life review: State of the art and new directions

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Abstract

Fifty years ago, psychiatrist Robert Butler (1963) published an influential article on the recollection and evaluation of personal memories in later life. We discuss the major insights and applications in psychological gerontology that were inspired by Butler. Reminiscence and life review serve to create bonds between people, to cope with important life events, and to attribute meaning to life. We discuss a heuristic framework that relates reminiscence and life review to individual and contextual characteristics as well as to psychological resources and mental health and well-being. The increasing evidence is discussed that different types of interventions can effectively promote mental health and well-being in later life. We propose that processes of reminiscence and life review need further study. This can partly be achieved within the current research tradition by longitudinal studies and good trials that also address the processes accounting for effects of interventions. Synergy with psychological studies on autobiographical remembering and life stories will provide further innovation in the field, as these studies provide new methods and evidence of processes linked to the recollection and evaluation of personal memories
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
JournalJournal of aging studies
Volume29
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • METIS-305139
  • IR-91858

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