The Impact of Reminiscence on Autobiographical Memory, Cognition and Psychological Well-Being in Healthy Older Adults


  • Andrew P. Allen
  • Caoilainn Doyle
  • Richard A. P. Roche


Reminiscence therapy has improved autobiographical memory in older adults with memory impairment. However, there has been a relative lack of research examining the impact of reminiscence interventions on healthy older adults, despite the fact that healthy ageing has been associated with a reduction in episodic autobiographical memory. The current study examined the effects of a semi-structured reminiscence program, compared to a no-intervention control and an active control group focused on current life, in healthy older adults. Before and after reminiscence or control, we assessed episodic and semantic autobiographical memory, as well as reliving of the memory and re-experiencing the emotion associated with the memory. We also examined new learning and executive function, as well as quality of life, satisfaction with life, anxiety, depression, and mood. The reminiscence intervention did not lead to a differing impact on autobiographical memory, cognition or psychological well-being, compared to the control groups. The current results indicate that simple reminiscence does not lead to enhanced autobiographical memory performance in healthy older adults.