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The effect of autobiographical writing on the subjective well -being of older adults

Nancy Ellen Richeson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose to this study was to determine the effects of autobiographical writing on the subjective well-being of older adults. Autobiographical writing classes are popular courses offered by many Institutes for Learning in Retirement throughout the United States and Canada. Many individuals feel these types of courses have great potential for meeting the developmental needs of older adults. However, only limited research has been done specifically on the efficacy of autobiographical writing. Therefore, a need was seen to conduct research that investigated the outcomes of autobiographical writing classes. ^ A quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group was used in the research design. The intent of the study was to see if there were differences between the participants who enrolled in an autobiographical writing class and those who took part in a liberal arts class offered through the Institutes for Learning in Retirement. The courses were held during the Fall Semester of 2000. It was hypothesized that there would be a statistically significant difference between those who participated in the autobiographical writing classes and those who participated in the liberal arts classes on three dependent measures of subjective well-being. A total of 328 research participants, whose ages ranged from 50 to 97, completed the pretest and posttest measures. ^ The major hypothesis was analyzed using a split-plot analysis of variance, and the results indicated a statistically significant difference between the negative affect of older adults who participated in the autobiographical writing classes and those who participated in the liberal arts classes. The negative affect of the students enrolled in the autobiographical writing classes decreased from pretest to posttest when compared to the liberal arts classes in this study. No statistical significance was found from pretest to posttest on the other two dependent measures (positive affect and satisfaction with life) when comparing the two groups. ^

Subject Area

Gerontology|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Richeson, Nancy Ellen, "The effect of autobiographical writing on the subjective well -being of older adults" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3004622.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3004622

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