The effects of integrative reminiscence on meaning in life: results of a quasi-experimental study

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Objectives: Finding meaning in life is often cited as an important outcome of reminiscence, but this theoretical claim has not been empirically tested until now. A new intervention combining integrative reminiscence and elements of narrative therapy was developed and the effects on meaning in life were studied. Methods: A total of 106 older adults with depressive symptomatology participated in a quasi-experimental study with two parallel conditions: integrative reminiscence vs a waiting list control group. Measurements were taken before and after the intervention. Results: A significant improvement in the overall meaning in life in the participants of the intervention was found, but these effects were not significant in comparison to a waiting-list control group. There is a specific effect of the intervention in that it results in a decline of negative evaluation of the self by the participants and an increase in positive evaluation of social relations. The program also results in more positive evaluation of the past as well as in less negative evaluation of the future. These findings are somewhat stronger for women than for men. Conclusion: Integrative reminiscence within a narrative therapeutic framework may be an effective intervention for enhancing meaning in life with depressed older adults. The intervention has to be developed further and should then be studied in a randomized controlled trial with a larger sample and with follow-up measurements
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-646
JournalAging & mental health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Reminiscence
  • narrative therapy
  • Older adults
  • meaning in life
  • METIS-253035
  • IR-86414
  • Depression


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