Journal of Gerontological Nursing

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Geropsychiatry 

Improving Depressive Symptoms in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Psychosocial Intervention Using Life Review and Writing

Beth A. Mastel-Smith, PhD, RN; Judith McFarlane, PhD, RN; Michelle Sierpina, PhD; Ann Malecha, PhD, RN; Brenda Haile, PhD, RN

  • Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 2007;33(5):13-19
  • Posted May 1, 2007

Abstract

The purpose of this randomized, controlled trial was to test the efficacy of a community-based intervention, the Life Story Workshop, on depressive symptoms, operationalized as depression subscale scores on the Brief Symptom Inventory 18, in adults age 60 and older. Thirty-three men and women were randomly assigned to one of two groups: an intervention group that attended 2-hour workshops once a week for 10 weeks or a wait-list control group. The intervention provided an opportunity for older participants to reflect on, write, and share stories about their lived and current lives. The depression subscale of the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 was administered before and after the workshops. Mean depression scores were compared using Welch’s t test. A significant improvement was measured for the intervention group compared with the control group (p = .03). This research supports the Life Story Workshop as an effective intervention for improving depressive symptoms in older adults.

Abstract

The purpose of this randomized, controlled trial was to test the efficacy of a community-based intervention, the Life Story Workshop, on depressive symptoms, operationalized as depression subscale scores on the Brief Symptom Inventory 18, in adults age 60 and older. Thirty-three men and women were randomly assigned to one of two groups: an intervention group that attended 2-hour workshops once a week for 10 weeks or a wait-list control group. The intervention provided an opportunity for older participants to reflect on, write, and share stories about their lived and current lives. The depression subscale of the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 was administered before and after the workshops. Mean depression scores were compared using Welch’s t test. A significant improvement was measured for the intervention group compared with the control group (p = .03). This research supports the Life Story Workshop as an effective intervention for improving depressive symptoms in older adults.

Authors

Dr. Mastel-Smith and Dr. Haile are Assistant Professors, Dr. McFarlane is Professor and Parry Nursing Chair in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and Dr. Malecha is Associate Professor, Texas Woman’s University, College of Nursing, Houston, Texas. Ms. Sierpina is Director, Academy of Lifelong Learning, Geriatric Services Administration, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.

Address correspondence to Beth A. Mastel-Smith, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Texas Woman’s University, College of Nursing, 1130 John Freeman Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030-2897; e-mail: bmastelsmith@twu.edu.

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