Group discussions with structured reminiscence and a problem-based method as an intervention to prevent depressive symptoms in older people

J Clin Nurs. 2016 Apr;25(7-8):992-1000. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13110. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


Aims and objectives: To evaluate the effect of group discussions, in which structured reminiscence and a problem-based method were used, on depressive symptoms, quality of life and self-rated health among older people.

Background: Depressive symptoms in older people have a considerable impact on self-rated health and quality of life, with a high rate of co-morbidity and mortality. As the ageing population is growing, late-life depression is becoming an important public health problem and there is a need to find preventive interventions to avert unnecessary suffering.

Design: The study was quasi-experimental, with a one-group pretest-post-test design and follow-up after one year.

Methods: Initially, a questionnaire was sent to the total population of 55-80-year-old retirees in a community in the northeast of Sweden, (n = 679). The questionnaire concerned demographics and covered areas such as health, depression and quality of life. The intervention consisted of group discussions where structured reminiscence and a problem-based method were used. The participants (n = 18) met 10 times under the guidance of a group-leader, a registered nurse educated in the method. Each session had different themes with a focus on positive memories but also on the present situation and the future. Parametric, nonparametric tests and content analysis were used.

Results: Participants evaluated the intervention positively, showed a decrease in depressive symptoms, an increase in self-rated health and experienced an increased autonomy. No long- lasting effect was seen.

Conclusion: Group discussions where structured reminiscence and a problem-based method are used might be an option to prevent depressive symptoms in older people.

Relevance to clinical practice: This method might provide an opportunity for older people with depressive symptoms to improve their quality of life, however, to maintain the positive outcome the intervention should probably be continuous.

Keywords: depression; older people; prevention; problem based method; reminiscence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory*
  • Middle Aged
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden