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Effects of a simple reminiscence intervention program on the reminiscence functions in older adults

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2020

Encarnación Satorres
Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Iraida Delhom
Universidad Internacional de Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Juan C. Meléndez*
Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Correspondence should be addressed to: Juan C. Meléndez, Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Valencia, Av. Blasco Ibañez, 21, Valencia46010, Spain. Phone: +34 963983844. Fax: +34 963864671. Email:



Reminiscence promotes the acceptance of oneself and others, a sense of meaning, and the integration of the present and the past. The currently accepted classification contains eight reminiscence functions grouped in three broader functions: self-positive functions (identity, problem-solving, and death preparation); self-negative functions (bitterness revival, boredom reduction, and intimacy maintenance); and prosocial functions (conversation and teach-inform). The main objective of this study was to investigate how the eight dimensions change over time in a sample of healthy older adults after an intervention based on simple reminiscence and subsequent follow-up.


Participants were randomly assigned to the treatment or control group.


Participants were evaluated individually before, immediately after, and 3 months after the intervention.


Participants included 139 healthy older adults (71 intervention group and 68 control group).


Ten weekly sessions lasting 2 hours each were administered, based on a simple reminiscence program.


Participants were assessed with the Reminiscence Functions Scale.


After the intervention, in the treatment group, there was a significant increase in the self-positive functions of problem-solving and death preparation, and these effects were maintained even at the follow-up; there was a significant reduction in the self-negative functions of bitterness revival and intimacy maintenance; and there was a significant increase in the prosocial function of conversation.


When applying an intervention based on reminiscence, it is important to evaluate how it influences these functions because this information can help us to modify the objectives of the intervention and increase its effectiveness.

Original Research Article
© International Psychogeriatric Association 2020

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