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Title: Does life story work improve psychosocial well-being for older adults in the community? A quasi-experimental study
Authors: Lai, CKY 
Igarashi, A
Yu, CTK 
Chin, KCW
Keywords: Life story
Older adults
Mental health
Life satisfaction
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: BioMed Central
Source: BMC geriatrics, 16 May 2018, v. 18, 119, p. 1-12 How to cite?
Journal: BMC geriatrics 
Abstract: Background: Previous studies have demonstrated that life story work has positive effects when used on older adults. This study aimed to examine the effect of life story work on the general mental well-being, self-esteem, and life satisfaction of older adults by comparing two groups-one with and one without depressive symptoms.
Methods: A quasi-experimental design was adopted in this study. One hundred and twenty-three adults aged 60 or above were recruited from community centers through convenience sampling. They were allocated into two groups based on their level of depressive symptomatology as measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). The intervention was to produce a written life story with pictures and memorabilia in four to six semi-structured sessions facilitated by trained volunteers. The outcome measures included general mental well-being (General Health Questionnaire, GHQ), life satisfaction (Life Satisfaction Scale Index A, LSI-A), and self-esteem (Rosenberg's Self-esteem Scale, RSES). Data were collected at baseline (T0), immediately post-intervention (T1), and at the 3-month follow-up (T2). Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the effect of the intervention on the outcomes.
Results: There was a significant interaction effect between the two groups at T1 (beta = 0.244, p < 0.05) with improvements in the GHQ observed in the group with depressive symptomology. No significant time and interaction effects were seen on the LSI-A and RSES. The Friedman test was also used to examine whether the intervention itself would have any effects on the GDS score, with two groups combined. A reduction in the mean GDS score was found to be close to reaching a level of significance (chi(2) = 5.912, p = 0.052).
Conclusion: The findings of this study provided some preliminary evidence that life story work was effective at improving the general mental well-being of community-dwelling older adults with depressive symptomology. Because older adults with different levels of depressive symptoms might respond differently to life story work interventions, our findings offer interesting directions for future studies -for instance, on what population would benefit the most from Life Story Work and what would be the mechanism that renders Life Story Work effective.
EISSN: 1471-2318
DOI: 10.1186/s12877-018-0797-0
Rights: © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
The following publication Lai, C. K. Y., Igarashi, A., Yu, C. T. K., & Chin, K. C. W. (2018). Does life story work improve psychosocial well-being for older adults in the community? A quasi-experimental study. BMC Geriatrics, 18, 119, 1-12 is available at
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