The Impact of Autobiographic Writing on Memory Performance in Older Adults: A Preliminary Investigation

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Abstract

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.

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