Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


The purpose of this study was to provide insight into the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations that women experienced following reminiscence therapy. Watson's Human Science and Human Care theory provided the framework for this investigation. Watson's theory postulates that each person's causal past has the potential to influence the future. A qualitative research design was used to explore perceptions related to reminiscence with a group of ten women, 65 years of age or older, who lived in an extended care facility. Informants were asked to attend eight reminiscence therapy meetings which occurred twice a week for four consecutive weeks. Data for this investigation consisted of verbatim transcriptions of 19 semi-structured interviews. Individual interviews were conducted following the second and eighth reminiscence therapy meetings. During the interviews, informants were asked questions about the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations experienced following reminiscence therapy. Informants were also asked questions about the reminiscence process. Latent content analysis techniques were used to analyze data. The data were initially reduced into broad groupings which paralleled the questions and probes on the semistructured interview schedules. From the broad groupings, themes relating to thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations experienced following reminiscence therapy emerged. Themes relating to thoughts included remembering as a cognitive stimulus, ordering of memories, shared memories, decreasing memories, abundance of memories, generalizations of childhood, and a dream like quality to memories. Themes of pleasant and bittersweet feelings emerged from the data. Themes relating to physical changes or sensations were relaxed, no changes noted and worrisome. Additional findings included information related to pleasurable and less pleasurable memories, group versus individual reminiscence, and with whom to reminisce. Other information included, in some cases, extensive reminiscence. Recommendations for future research encompass (a) searching for physiological measures relating to relaxation which can be studied quantitatively, (b) searching for methods of exploring reminiscence as a memory enhancement intervention, (c) replicating the investigation with diverse populations, and (d) considering Watson's theory when investigating individual reminiscence or life review.


Eileen Deges Curl

Date of Award

Fall 1993

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1993 Debra A. McDonald


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