The impact of autobiographic writing on memory performance in older adults: a preliminary investigation

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Mar;15(3):257-61. doi: 10.1097/01.JGP.0000240985.10411.3e.


In this pilot study, the authors examined whether participation in a structured autobiographic writing workshop positively influenced memory performance in a group of community-dwelling older adults. Eighteen subjects, aged 62-84 years, were enrolled in an eight-week writing workshop. At baseline and follow up, they completed five memory assessments and submitted two writing samples, which were evaluated for linguistic complexity. The authors found a significant increase in follow-up scores on tests of verbal memory and attention, indicating a possible positive influence of the writing workshop. The authors also found a decline in idea density, suggesting that more research is needed to better understand how interpretation of the language assessment tool may be affected by improvements in writing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Autobiographies as Topic*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Linguistics / methods
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Writing*