"The stories we live by": Effects of a group intervention

Older people with depressive complaints are in general reached only with difficulty. Life review is a low-threshold methodology because recalling memories from the individual's own life (reminiscence) has the central focus. This is a recognizable and daily activity for many older people. The process is characterized by an active (re-)evaluation of one's life, directed towards the processing of negative experiences and the giving of positive significance and meaning to one's life. Central to this project is the evaluation of the life review group course "The stories we live by", designed specifically for people aged 55 and older with depressive complaints. A randomized (cost-)effectiveness study into this course was undertaken in collaboration with 16 mental health institutions throughout the Netherlands. The study included over 200 participants. To obtain further insight into the effectiveness of life review, mediation and moderation analyses were carried out and a qualitative study established. In addition to the evaluation of the above course, the project also considers the adaptive function of reminiscence. The relationship between reminiscence and mental health is brought into focus and a reminiscence model tested.