In search of meaning: A reminiscence program for older persons

Gerben J. Westerhof*, Ernst Bohlmeijer, Marije W. Valenkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


A pilot evaluation is reported of a reminiscence program aimed at increasing personal meaning. Fifty-seven older persons completed both a sentence completion questionnaire measuring personal meaning and a depression scale administered before and after the program. In comparison to a group from a representative survey that was matched on life contexts, the personal meaning profile of the intervention group was more negative and more focused on self. Hence, a group with impoverished meaning was participating in the program. After the intervention, the personal meaning profile was more positive, in particular with regard to self-evaluations and evaluations of social relations. The group that improved most on depression also improved most on personal meaning. Further research on the program is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-766
Number of pages16
JournalEducational gerontology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


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