Journal List > J Korean Acad Nurs > v.49(3) > 1129515

J Korean Acad Nurs. 2019 Jun;49(3):225-240. Korean.
Published online Jun 27, 2019.
© 2019 Korean Society of Nursing Science
Effects of Reminiscence Therapy on Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults with Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Kyungsoo Kim and Jia Lee
College of Nursing Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.

Address reprint requests to: Lee, Jia. College of Nursing Science, Kyung Hee University, 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Korea. Tel: +82-2-961-0894, Fax: +82-2-961-9398, Email:
Received Nov 01, 2018; Revised Mar 22, 2019; Accepted Apr 02, 2019.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs License. ( If the original work is properly cited and retained without any modification or reproduction, it can be used and re-distributed in any format and medium.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of reminiscence therapy on depressive symptoms in older adults with dementia using a systematic review and meta-analysis.


Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published from January 2000 to January 2018 were searched through Research Information Sharing Service (RISS), Korean Studies Information Service System (KISS), Korean Medical Database (KMbase), KoreaMed, PubMed, Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and Ovid MEDLINE. Two researchers independently performed the search, selection, and coding. Comprehensive Meta-Analysis 3.0 was used for meta-analysis, and Review Manager program 5.3 was used for quality assessment.


Out of the 1,250 retrieved articles, 22 RCTs were selected for analysis. The overall effect size of reminiscence therapy for mitigating depressive symptoms in older adults with dementia was −0.62 (95% Cl: −0.92 to −0.31). The effect size was greater in older adults under 80, those with less disease severity, and those for whom the therapy session lasted less than 40 minutes.


Reminiscence therapy is an effective non-pharmacological therapy to improve depressive symptoms in older adults with dementia. Because its effectiveness is also influenced by age, disease severity, and application method, it is necessary to consider treatment designs based on individual characteristics as well as methodological approaches.

Keywords: Mental Recall; Depression; Dementia; Meta-Analysis



Table 1
Characteristics of Included Studies
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Table 2
Effect Size and Tendency by Variables
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This article is a condensed form of the first author's master's thesis from Kyung Hee University.

This research was partially supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (No. 2016R1A2B2016339).

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST:The authors declared no conflict of interest.

Appendix 1

List of Studies Included in Meta-Analysis

1. Amieva H, Robert PH, Grandoulier AS, Meillon C, De Rotrou J, Andrieu S, et al. Group and individual cognitive therapies in Alzheimer's disease: the ETNA3 randomized trial. International Psychogeriatrics. 2016;28(5):707–717.

2. Duru Aşiret G, Kapucu S. The effect of reminiscence therapy on cognition, depression, and activities of daily living for patients with Alzheimer disease. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology. 2016;29(1):31–37.

3. Bailey EM, Stevens AB, LaRocca MA, Scogin F. A randomized controlled trial of a therapeutic intervention for nursing home residents with dementia and depressive symptoms. Journal of Applied Gerontology. 2017;36(7):895–908.

4. Van Bogaert P, Van Grinsven R, Tolson D, Wouters K, Engelborghs S, Van der Mussele S. Effects of SolCos model-based individual reminiscence on older adults with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer disease: a pilot study. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2013;14(7):528-e9.

5. Haight BK, Gibson F, Michel Y. The Northern Ireland life review/life storybook project for people with dementia. Alzheimer's & dementia. 2006;2(1):56–58.

6. Hsieh CJ, Chang C, Su SF, Hsiao YL, Shih YW, Han WH, et al. Reminiscence group therapy on depression and apathy in nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate dementia. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Medicine. 2010;2(2):72–78.

7. Hsu YC, Wang JJ. Physical, affective, and behavioral effects of group reminiscence on depressed institutionalized elders in Taiwan. Nursing Research. 2009;58(4):294–299.

8. Hutson C, Orrell M, Dugmore O, Spector A. Sonas: A pilot study investigating the effectiveness of an intervention for people with moderate to severe dementia. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias. 2014;29(8):696–703.

9. Karimi H, Dolatshahee B, Momeni K, Khodabakhshi A, Rezaei M, Kamrani AA. Effectiveness of integrative and instrumental reminiscence therapies on depression symptoms reduction in institutionalized older adults: An empirical study. Aging & Mental Health. 2010;14(7):881–887.

10. Nakamae T, Yotsumoto K, Tatsumi E, Hashimoto T. Effects of productive activities with reminiscence in occupational therapy for people with dementia: A pilot randomized controlled study. Hong Kong Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2014;24(1):13–19.

11. O'Shea E, Devane D, Cooney A, Casey D, Jordan F, Hunter A, et al. The impact of reminiscence on the quality of life of residents with dementia in long‐stay care. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2014;29(10):1062–1070.

12. Subramaniam P, Woods B, Whitaker C. Life review and life story books for people with mild to moderate dementia: A randomized controlled trial. Aging & Mental Health 2014;18(3):363–375.

13. Van Bogaert P, Tolson D, Eerlingen R, Carvers D, Wouters K, Paque K, et al. SolCos model‐based individual reminiscence for older adults with mild to moderate dementia in nursing homes: A randomized controlled intervention study. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2016;23(9–10):568–575.

14. Wang JJ. Group reminiscence therapy for cognitive and affective function of demented elderly in Taiwan. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2007; 22(12):1235–1240.

15. Yang YP, Lee FP, Chao HC, Hsu FY, Wang, JJ. Comparing the effects of cognitive stimulation, reminiscence, and aroma-massage on agitation and depressive mood in people with dementia. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2016;17(8):719–724.

16. Kwon MH, Kim SK, Lee JS, Cha TH. The effects of occupational reminiscence therapy using fairy tale flash animation on cognition, social interaction and behavior problems of the elderly with dementia. Journal of Korean Society of Occupational Therapy. 2016;24(3): 97–109.

17. Kim SM. Effects of group art therapy using reminiscence techniques on cognitive functions, depression and self-expression of elderly with dementia. Korean Journal of Art Therapy. 2015;22(2):603–634

18. Kim HM, Jeon SY. The Effect of group art therapy through reminiscence on the cognitive function and depression of the demented old people. Korean Art Therapy Association. 2012;19:1289–1312.

19. Lee HS, Yun JA, Noh JS, Cha JJ, Kang SA, Kang HA, et al. Effect of individual occupational therapy and the integrated group reminiscence counseling on psychological health and cognitive function of elderly at care facilities. The Journal of Occupational Therapy for the Aged and Dementia. 2012;6(2):19–29.

20. Jang WS, Lee JM. The effect of group reminiscence therapy on depression, quality of life and social behavior of patient with dementia. Korean Society of Gerontological Social Welfare. 2006;34:239–269.

21. Cha YJ. A study on Occupational Reminiscence Therapy(ORT) Program for the elderly with Mild Cognitive Impairment(MCI) in Local Community. Journal of the Korea Academia-Industrial Cooperation Society. 2016;17(8):605–614.

22. Hong KH, Ju AY, Koo SM, Kim YW, Jung HR. Effects of the group reminiscence program for elderly with dementia. Korean Society of Community Based Occupational Therapy. 2015;5(2):57–64.

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