Reducing depression among community-dwelling older adults using life-story review: A pilot study

Moon Fai Chan*, Katherine S.P. Leong, Boon Ling Heng, Blessy Koottappal Mathew, Sher Banu A.L. Khan, Sumathi Sagayamary Lourdusamy, Mina Nagapan, Sook Fan Woo, Wai Yan Chee, Roger C.M. Ho, Beverley Joan Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A life-story review can serve as an effective intervention to express one's inner feelings and provide emotional catharsis. The research aim was to examine the effects of life-story review on depression levels in community-dwelling older adults in Singapore. This pilot experimental pre-post-follow-up study was conducted from July 2012 to February 2013. Twenty-nine older Malays aged 60 and above, with mild to moderate depression, were randomly allocated to the life-story review (intervention) group (n = 15) or the non life-story review (control) group (n = 14). Depressive symptoms were measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale-15 and collected five times over eight weeks. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the effects of the intervention on the elders' depression levels, controlled for age, gender, medication use, existence of chronic disease, and diary writing experience. Reductions in depression scores were found in the intervention group from week 1 (Mean ± SD 5.9 ± 2.3) to week 8 (1.9 ± 1.6) compared with the control group (week 1: 5.0 ± 1.3; week 8: 3.5 ± 1.5). At week 8, the intervention group showed a significantly lower level of depression than the control group (χ2 = 14.61, p < 0.001). This study adds to prior research supporting the use of life story review in improving depression levels in cognitively intact community dwelling older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-110
Number of pages6
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Life-story review
  • Older Malays
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology


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