Abstract

Life review is often incorporated into therapy with the elderly in the form of verbal or activity groups. This study compares the affective meanings of life review through activities with life review through discussion. Twenty-two women between 60 and 85 years of age participated in one of two activity groups or in one of two discussion groups. Individuals in the activity groups expressed a positive event or accomplishment of their past by drawing and making collages. Then they discussed their finished products. In the discussion groups, subjects took turns describing a positive life event to other group members. Afterward, all subjects rated how they felt about themselves during the group using Osgood’s semantic differential scale. Analyses of variance for nested designs were completed on the scale’s evaluation, power, and action factors of affective meaning. They revealed significant differences between the groups within the activity and discussion conditions. However, differences between the activity and discussion conditions were not significant. In terms of clinical practice, life review was perceived as good, powerful, and active by this sample, and practitioners are urged to consider the importance of group-to-group differences in responses to activities.

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