The effect of group reminiscence on happiness of the elderly

Document Type : Original Quantitative and Qualitative Research Paper


1 Masters Student of geriatric nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

2 Instructor of Nursing, Department of Health- Management Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

3 Department of Biostatistics and Public Health, Faculty of Health, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran


Background: some studies have confirmed the effectiveness of reminiscence on mental health, although there are conflicting results in this area. There are no interventional, localized and confirmed studies into the effectiveness of this intervention on mental wellbeing of old people in our country.
Aim: To determine the effect of reminiscence therapy on the elderly happiness.
Methods: In this clinical trial, 64 elderly referred to the Jahandidegan center of Gorgan were selected and randomly divided into control and intervention groups. Happiness scores were measured before intervention, during, and one month after the end of intervention.. Reminiscence was conducted in six sessions over three weeks. Group discussions were held for the control group. Data were collected using valid and reliable happiness questionnaires (oxford) and a brief cognitive-mental examination. Fisher’s exact test, Chi-square, independent, repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferoni post-hoc and SPSS version 20 were used.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 65.5±6.2, and 50.8% of them were men. Happiness pre-intervention scores were 43.9±10.6 and 45.6±8.3 in control and the intervention groups, respectively (p>0.05). Multivariate analysis with repeated measures showed that the interaction between treatment group and the time was significantly effective on the elderly happiness score (p<0.01). Bonferroni post-hoc test scores before and after the intervention (P<0.03) and scores during and after the intervention (P<0.03) showed significant differences.
Conclusion: group discussion and reminiscence are effective in increasing the elderly happiness scores. However, reminiscence was a more effective intervention; therefore, it can be an inexpensive way to increase the vitality of the elderly with no side-effects. 


Main Subjects

1. Giordana JY, Roelandt JL, Porteaux C. Mental Health of Elderly People: The prevalence and Representations of Psychiatric Disorders. L'Encéphale. 2010;36(3):59-64.
2. Risks to Mental Health: an Overview of Vulnerabilities and Risk Factors. 2012; Available from:
3. Aging and Life Course. 2008; Available from:
4. Mental Health and Older Adults. 2013; Available from:
5. Chiang K, Chu H, Chang HJ, Chung MH, Chen CH, Chiou HY, et al. The Effects of Reminiscence Therapy on Psychological Well Being, Depression, and Loneliness Among the Institutionalized Aged. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010;25(4): 380-388
6. Abdi Zrin S, Akbarian M. Successful Aging in the Light of Religion and Religious Beliefs. J Ageing. 2007;2(4). (Persian)
7. Tuntichaivanit C, Nanthamongkolchai S, Munsawaengsub C, Charupoonphol P. Life Happiness of the Elderly in Rayong Province. J. Public Health. 2013;39(1):39-47.
8. Diener M. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) About Subjective Well-Being (Happiness and Life Satisfaction): a Primer For Reporters and Newcomers. 2007; Available from: :
9. Feldman F. Whole Llife Satisfaction Concepts of Happiness. Theoria. 2008;74(3):219-38.
10. Montazeri A, Azin SA, Jahangiri K, Siddiqui J, Ebadi M, Hedayati AA, et al. Happiness of The People of Iran and its Associated Factors: a Study From the Perspective of Health. Quarterly Monitoring. 2012;11(4):467-75. (Persian)
11. Hsieh HF, Wang JJ. Effect of Reminiscence Therapy on Depression in Older Adults: a systematic review. IJNS.  2003;40(4):335.
12. Woods B, Spector A, Jones C, Orrell M, Davies S. Reminiscence Therapy for Dementia. CDSR. 2005;2.
13. Chen T-j, Li H-j, Li J. The Effects of Reminiscence Therapy on Depressive Symptoms of Chinese Elderly: Study Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial. BMC psychiatry. 2012;12(1):1-6.
14. Ando M, Morita T. Efficacy of the Structured Life Review and The Short-Term Life Review on the Spiritual Well-Being of Terminally Ill Cancer Patients. Health. 2010;2(4):342-6.
15. Stinson C, Kirk E. Structured Reminiscence: an Intervention to Decrease Depression and Increase Selftranscedence in Older Woman. JCN 2005;15(2).
16. Pinquart M, Forstmeier S. Effects of Reminiscence Interventions on Psychosocial Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. Aging & mental health. 2012;16(5):541-58.
17. Cappeliez P, Rivard V, Guindon S. Functions of Reminiscence in Later Life: Proposition of a Model and Applications. Eur Rev Appl Psychol. 2007;57(3):151-6.
18. Pinquart M, Duberstein P, Lyness J. Effects of Psychotherapy and Other Behavioral Interventions on Clinically Depressed Older Adults: a Meta-Analysis. Aging & mental health. 2007;11(6):645-57.
19. Wang JJ. The Effects of Reminiscence on Depressive Symptoms and Mood Status of Older Institutionalized Adults in Taiwan. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2005;20(1):57-62.
20. Wang J. Group Reminiscence Therapy for Cognitive and Affective Function of Demented Elderly in Taiwan. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2007;22(12):1235-40
21. Chiang Kj, Chu H, Chang Hj, Chung MH, Chen CH, Chiou HY, et al. The Effects of Reminiscence Therapy on Psychological Well Being, Depression, and Loneliness Among the Institutionalized Aged. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010;25(4):380-8.
22. Momeni k. Memory Processing Narrative Coherence and Effectiveness in Reducing Depressive Symptoms in Elderly Women Living in Sanitarium. Journal of  Family Counseling & Psychotherapy. 2012;1(3):366-81.(Persian)
23. Korte J, Bohlmeijer ET, Westerhof GJ, Pot AM. Reminiscence and Adaptation to Critical Llife Events in Older Adults With Mild to Moderate Depressive Symptoms. Aging & mental health. 2011;15(5):638-46.
24. Chou Y, Lan Y, Chao S. Application of Individual Reminiscence Therapy to Decrease Anxiety in an Elderly Woman With Dementia]. Hu Li Za Zhi. 2008;55(4):105.
25. Lin YC, Dai YT, Hwang SL. The Effect of Reminiscence on the Elderly Population: a systematic review. PHNs. 2003;20(4):297-306.
26. Bohlmeijer E, Westerhof G, Emmerik-de Jong M. The Effects of Integrative Reminiscence on Meaning in Life: Results of a Quasi-Experimental Study. Aging & Mental Health. 2008;12(5):639-46.
27. Bryant FB, Smart CM, King SP. Using the Past to Enhance the Present: Boosting Happiness Through Positive Reminiscence. J Happiness Stud. 2005;6(3):227-60.
28. Moradi nejad s, Sahbaee F, Nekavand m. Effects of Reminiscence and Mental Health Elderly. Journal of Aging. 2009;5(17):60-6. (Persian)
29. De Silva H, Gunatilake S. Mini Mental State Examination in Sinhalese: a Sensitive Test to Screen For Dementia in Sri Lanka. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2002;17(2):134-9.
30. Frooghan M, jaafari Z, Shirin bayan  P, ghaem Farahani  Z, Rahghozar M. Brief Cognitive Status Examination Standardization Elderly in Tehran 2006. Advances in Cognitive Science. 2008;10(2):29-37. (Persian)
31. Lin LC, Watson R, Lee YC, Chou YC, Wu SC. Edinburgh Feeding Evaluation in Dementia (EdFED) Scale: Cross Cultural Validation of the Chinese Version. J Adv Nurs. 2008;62(1):116-23.
32. Ghasemi A, Abedi A. Effectiveness of Group Education Based on Expectancy Theory Snyder on Elderly Happiness. Knowledge and Research in Psychology Islamic Azad University. 2010;41:17-44. (Persian)
33. Alipoor A, Noorbala A. A Preliminary Evaluation of the Validity and Reliability of the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire in Students in the Universities of Tehran. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. 1999;5(1):55-66. (Persian)
34. Watt LM, Cappeliez P. Integrative and Instrumental Reminiscence Therapies for Depression in Older Adults: Intervention Strategies and Treatment Effectiveness. Aging & Mental Health. 2000;4(2):166-77.
35. Hanaoka H, Okamura H. Study on Effects of Life Review Activities on the Quality of Life of the Elderly: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychother Psychosom. 2004;73(5):302-11.
36. Majzoobi MR, Moeni K, Amani R, Hojjatkhah M. The Effectiveness of Structured Group Reminiscence on the Enhancement of the Elderly's Life Quality and Happiness. Developmental  Psychology (journal of iranian psychologists). 2013;9(34):189-202. (Persian)
37. Afonso R, Bueno B. Effects of a Reminiscence Program on Depressive Symptomatology in an Elderly Population in Portugal. Rev Esp Geriatr Gerontol. 2009;44(6):317.
38. Bohlmeijer E, Roemer M, Cuijpers P, Smit F. The Effects of Reminiscence on Psychological Well-Being in Older Adults: A meta-analysis. Aging & Mental Health. 2007;11(3):291-300.
39. Chao S, Liu H, Wu C, Jin S, Chu T, Huang T, et al. The Effects of Group Reminiscence Therapy on Depression, Self Esteem, and Life Satisfaction of Elderly Nursing Home Residents. J Res Nurs. 2006;14(1):36.
40. Wang JJ. Group Reminiscence Therapy for Cognitive and Affective Function of Demented Elderly in Taiwan. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007;22(12):1235-40.
41. Hsieh C-J, Chang C, Su S-F, Hsiao Y-L, Shih Y-W, Han W-H, et al. Reminiscence Group Therapy on Depression and Apathy in Nursing Home Residents With Mild-to-Moderate Dementia. J Exp Clin Med. 2010;2(2):72-8.
42. Gudex C, Horsted C, Jensen AM, Kjer M, Sørensen J. Consequences From Use of Reminiscence-a Randomised Intervention Study in ten Danish Nursing Homes. BMC geriatrics. 2010;10(1):33.