2024 ICLIP Conference

Page 1

Funded by: John Allan Kunz


for Reminiscence and Life Review


Many individuals have volunteered and worked hard to achieve the goal of planning and implementing this conference. Our sincere thanks to all of you!

Advisory Board

Cheryl Brohard, President

Alison Kris, President-elect

Theresa Chrisman Secretary

Thomas Pierce IJRLR Editor

Gerben Westerhof, Past President

Abdullah Abu Khait

Robin Mintzer

Rick Kral

Deniz Pamuk

William Randall

Galen Tinder

Conference Committee

Cheryl Brohard, Chair

Abdallah Abu Khait

Alison Kris

Robin Mintzer

Deena Stewart-Hitzke

Diana Taylor

Galen Tinder

Gerben Westerhof

Awards Committee

Cheryl Svensson, Chair

Esther Gieschen

Sharon Mackenzie

Abstract Review Committee

All abstracts submitted for the conference went through a blind review. Cheryl Brohard, Chair, Alison Kris, Robin Mintzer, Deena Stewart-Hitzke and Diana Taylor


Cheryl Brohard, Theresa Chrisman, Michelle Cole, Tom Long, Whitney Myers, Tom Pierce, Deniz Pamuk, Deena Stewart-Hitzke, Christine Tocchi

A special thank you to our conference presenters who represent an array of life story research and practice and are well-known for their expertise and rigor in their work.

Table of Contents Welcome Letter...................................................................4 Letter from the President...................................................5 Program Agenda..................................................................6 Awards...................................................................................9 Keynote Presentation........................................................14 Workshops..........................................................................15 Paper Presentations...........................................................17 Poster Presentations.........................................................24

Dear conference participants,

As director of the International Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice, I welcome you to the University of Connecticut and our second virtual international conference. I am delighted to welcome attendees from Turkey, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and Jordan as well as new members from various parts of the United States I am particularly pleased to welcome undergraduate and graduate student presenters from around the world

The National Reminiscence and Life Review Society held its first conference on August of 1995 in Superior, Wisconsin under the direction of John A Kunz. The conference featured speakers such as Robert Butler, Barbara Haight, Jeffrey Webster, and John Kunz among other notable reminiscence scholars and practitioners With each biennial conference, interest in reminiscence and life review grew and eventually included participants from around the world The biennial conferences have been the pinnacle event for the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review where innovative life story ideas developed, collaborations and friendships formed, and the latest advances in the field were presented. The International Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice is proud to continue the traditions started by the IIRLR

I appreciate the involvement and participation of our UConn faculty and student presenters. You will learn more about their expertise and body of work when they are introduced. This conference would not have been possible without Dean Dickson’s support. In her first year of deanship at the University of Connecticut, she has wholeheartedly supported the work of the Center and our members I thank Ashley O’Connor our publicity director, Emily Laput for their help with advertising the conference across many social media sites and professional organizations and developing the digital conference brochure. Thank you to Abbey Engler for creating the Legacy Project page on our website. A special thank you to UConn Conference Services for all their expertise and assistance in the planning and with the technical aspects of the conference It is always a pleasure to work with you

A sincere thank you to Dr Cheryl Brohard for her strong leadership and guidance over the past two years. She, along with Dr. Cheryl Svensson, was instrumental in the completion of our Legacy Project. Thank you to our past presidents Phillippe Cappeliez, Brian DeVries, Mary O’Brien Tyrell, Thomas Pierce, Jeffrey Webster, and Gerben Westerhof for participating in our conference We look forward to hearing about your experiences and special memories of the IIRLR on Thursday

In closing, thank you to each one of you for being here with us today. We are very pleased to be able to welcome those of you that have been with us since the early days of the Institute as well as our new members and faculty and students from the University of Connecticut I sincerely hope you enjoy the conference

Dear members of CLIP, faculty and students of UCONN, new members, old members, and future presenters,

Welcome to the 2024 biennial conference of The International Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice It is with joy that we bring to you through the marvels of synchronous teleconferencing a virtual conference themed “Keeping Our Legacy Alive: Honor the Past and Embrace the Future ” Our organization is comprised of members from multitudes of nations across the globe united as one family to the life story. This conference is an opportunity to showcase innovations and practice among the storytellers of narrative research, facilitators of autobiographical memories, documenters of life stories, and researchers of reminiscence and life review It is open to all and we warmly welcome each of you

Following the three pre-conference workshops will be a very special unveiling of the “legacy project” which highlights the milestones of this organization as we are keeping our legacy alive. We are honored and grateful for the panel of past Presidents who will participate and share their stories. The evening will end with a traditional presentation and ceremony of awards hosted by Cheryl Svensson The keynote speaker, Dr Elizabeth Keating will continue the theme of “honoring the past” with her research work on families and the passing of stories from one generation to the next We turn from honoring the past to embracing the future with an interactive session with two veteran members, Dr. Diana Taylor, and Dr Robin Minter, who always bring insight and thoughtfulness to our team The last half of the day is filled with novel interventions and innovative papers, posters, and presentations. Please stay for our last presentation by our incoming President, Dr Alison Kris, who will talk about her work with people living with dementia in nursing homes.

I would like to extend a personal thank you to each member of the Advisory Board and Conference Planning Committee for all their hard work over the past two years A special and heartfelt thank you to the ICLIP’s Center Director, Dr. Juliette Shellman, for her future thinking and excellent leadership

With Best Wishes for Honoring the Past and Embracing the Future,



Schedule March 7th

11:15AM –12:15PM Advisory board meeting

Chair: Dr. Cheryl Brohard

12:30PM – 1:30PM Preconference workshop 1

Foster Lifebooks that Help Children Heal Lisa Kaichen, President, Lifeworks, LLC

Moderator: Dr. Michelle Cole

1:45PM – 2:45PM

Preconference workshop 2

The Best of Both Worlds: When Life Stories meet Digital Storytelling

Presenters: Lisa Joworski, R/TRO and Dr. Michael Long

Moderator: Dr Thomas Pierce

3:00PM – 4:00PM Preconference workshop 3

An Empowering Story: Writing for Life Presenter: Dr Gerben Westerhof

Moderator: Dr Christine Tocchi

4:15 PM-4:45PM The Legacy Project: Presentation of IIRLR and ICLIP Milestones

Dr. Cheryl Brohard and Dr. Cheryl Svensson


Panel Discussion with Past Presidents

Dr Cheryl Svensson, Moderator, Dr Cheryl Brohard, Dr Phillippe Cappeliez, Dr Brian DeVries, Mary O’Brien Tyrell, President, Memoirs, Dr. Juliette Shellman, Dr Thomas Pierce, Dr Jeffrey Webster, Dr. Gerben Westerhof

5:30PM-6:45PM Reception and Presentation of Awards

Presentation of Awards (5:45-6:00) Networking (6:00-6:45)

Schedule: March 8

10:00AM – 10:15AM Dr Juliette Shellman, Director ICLIP

Dr Victoria Vaughan-Dickson, Dean, UConn SON

Dr. Cheryl Brohard, President Advisory Board


Keynote presentation

The Questions We Don’t Ask but Should to Uncover Stories and Create Connection

Dr. Elizabeth Keating

Moderator: Dr Cheryl Brohard



11:25 AM-12:00PM Interactive Session with Dr. Elizabeth Keating

Moderator: Dr Cheryl Brohard


Sibling Relationships

Dr Robin Mintzer & Dr Diana Taylor

Moderator: Whitney Myers

12:45 -1:30PM LUNCH BREAK


Poster Session (4 poster presentations, 3 minutes each) 15 minutes for questions

Moderator: Deniz Pamuk

2:05PM -2:45PM Business Meeting and Election of Officers




Concurrent Paper Presentations/Symposium

Session 1: The Reminiscence Bump Effect in Autobiographies and Biographies: Differences in Frequency and Affect

Hanna Benz (3-3:30 p m )

The Use of Oral Narrative Practice in Addressing Adversity

Galen Tinder (3:30-4 p m )

Moderator: Dr. Theresa Chrisman

Schedule: March 8

Session 2: “Life is Three Days: I am in the Second”: Guided Autobiography Experiences of Senior Gerontology Bachelor Students

Deniz Pamuk (3-3:30 p m )

Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory as Reminiscence – or Maybe Not

Dr Thomas Pierce (3:30-4 p m )

Moderator: Dr. Deena Stewart-Hitzke

Session 3: Remembered Relations and Relations of Remembrance: How Does Relationality Matter in Late-Life Reminiscence?

Dr. Jessica Robbins-Panko (3-3:30 p.m.)

Symposium: Voices of Older Drag Queens (Age 50+)

Dr. Brian Chapman, Dr. Laura K. M. Donorfio, Dr. Nels P Highberg, & Emma L Chamberlin (3:30-4:30 p m )

Moderator: Dr. Thomas Long


4:45PM – 5:00PM

5:00PM – 5:30PM

Embracing the Future: ICLIP Research Collaborations and AI and Storytelling

The Impact of a Telephone Reminiscence Program on Mental Health Outcomes in Community-dwelling Older Adults

Cameron Graham, CEO and Co-founder, STORII, and Dr Juliette Shellman

Closing Session

Moderator: Dr. Cheryl Brohard

Remembering Together: Use of Reminiscence Enhances Well-being in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia

Dr Alison Kris

Final remarks and evaluation: Dr Cheryl Brohard

ICLIP Awards

We are honored to announce the winners of The International Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice (ICLIP) 2024 awards. We received several highly qualified nominations that made our selections difficult We appreciate all the ICLIP members who took the time to submit nominations By recognizing the achievements of others in the field, we will continue to promote the mission of ICLIP

The Robert Butler and Myrna Lewis Exemplar Research Award

Award Criteria: The work of the recipients for this award has primarily focused on one or more of those domains: conceptual/theoretical issues of personal memory, research projects identifying individual difference variables in reminiscence processes, and correlates of autobiographical memory and theoretical exploration of the role of life review and reminiscence in normal development

Recipient: Gerben Westerhof, PhD

Dr Gerben Westerhof has distinguished himself as one of the most gifted and prolific researchers in the fields of reminiscence, life review, and life story work He has published important empirical research demonstrating the efficacy of life review and narrative therapy for treatment of a number of mental health conditions and in a variety of populations. He has produced widely cited systematic reviews and meta-

analyses of the work in the field as a whole which make it possible to assess progress attained by the field and identify important research questions that require additional attention. His articles of a theoretical nature are essential reading to anyone wishing to more deeply appreciate not only the effects of life review therapy on mental health outcomes but the reasons why these therapeutic strategies are effective Dr Westerhof’s work is directly applicable to the work of therapists engaging clients in narrative and life review therapy He has been highly influential in the development of life review therapy as a recognized treatment modality. Dr. Westerhof’s contributions to ICLIP and IIRLR have been outstanding. He has served on the Advisory Boards of both organizations and he recently completed a term as the President of ICLIP’s Advisory Board when he guided us through the transition


The James and Betty Birren Award for Excellence in Practice

Award Criteria: The recipients for this award are generally applied practitioners: front-line workers/researchers examining the therapeutic uses and outcomes of life review groups, reminiscence therapies, and other autobiographical approaches which seek to understand human development and aging from the "inside out"

Recipient: Sarah White

Sarah White has been a leader in the field of life story work for decades She became a personal historian in 2002 to help people write their life stories She held several positions on the board of the Association of Personal Historians, culminating in the presidency in 2012-2015 She is also a freelance writer who works as a developmental editor, writing coach, and ghostwriter Sarah facilitates Guided Autobiography groups, teaches reminiscence writing, and creative nonfiction. Over the years, she has collaborated with numerous clients and facilitated over 150 reminiscence writing workshops, resulting in the publication of more than two dozen books for families Sarah White has exemplified ICLIP’s mission throughout her career in the field Over the course of nearly 25 years, she has exemplified unwavering dedication to assisting individuals in documenting their life stories. Through her work, she has recognized the profound impact of life story writing and sharing, which has served as a catalyst for healing and forging new connections Sarah's profound understanding of the power of story writing has fueled her commitment as a Birren Center board member to create new courses and programs aimed at disseminating best practices in life story work.


John A Kunz Award for Distinguished Service to the International Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice

Award Criteria The recipient for this award has primarily focused on service to the Center (and its predecessor the IIRLR) by serving on committees, promotion of reminiscence and life Review, or contributing to the interdisciplinary work in the field of Reminiscence and Life Review.

Recipient: Cheryl Svensson, PhD

Dr. Svensson meets and exceeds all the above criteria She served on the advisory board, as well as on the conference planning committee and the Awards committee, under both the IIRLR and ICLIP, chairing the Awards committee at least twice. In addition, she spearheaded the Legacy Project for ICLIP, including compiling the history of past presidents of the Advisory Board.

She has consistently and enthusiastically promoted ICLIP and IIRLR to the international GAB community encouraging her students to become members and attend the conferences. She has been generous with her time and expertise to mentor not only new GAB instructors but also students in the Certificate in Reminiscence and Life Story Work previously offered through the University of Wisconsin – Superior Dr. Svensson expanded John Kunz’s vision of using life stories to connect people from all backgrounds and contribute to their mental health She single-handedly created an innovative virtual approach to train and mentor over 600 academics and professionals from many disciplines in Guided Autobiography (GAB) In turn, they have gone on to create a global GAB community, representing over 31 countries. Her first area of interest was Memoir work with individual older adults This broadened over the years to create a career devoted to connecting with international researchers, practitioners, teachers, and students promoting life review experiences In this way, she is much like our founder John Kunz.

As co-author of the book Writing Your Legacy: The Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Life Story (2015) she brought the highly effective theme-based approach used in GAB groups to the general public for anyone to use on their own. Most recently, Dr. Svensson partnered with Bonnie Bernell, licensed psychologist, to write Uncovering Treasures That Matter: A Therapist’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions


Florence Gray-Soltys Graduate Student Award for Exemplary Research or Practice in the Field of Reminiscence and Life Review

Award Criteria: This award is for exemplary research or practice in the field of reminiscence and life review that contributes to the ICLIP mission by a graduate student. Nominations are accepted from faculty and others who believe the work of a graduate student significantly forwards the ICLIP mission to establish programs of research, implement educational programs, develop innovative applications in practice, and disseminate life story best practices

Recipient: Yuxuan Yang BSN, PhD candidate

Yuxuan has been a member of our STARR (Students Advancing Reminiscence Research) research group since 2018 During this time, she has made important contributions to the advancement of reminiscence research by conducting rigorous reminiscence research Her dissertation work has been focused on the use of reminiscence interventions to improve mental hmprove mental health outcomes in older adults. For her dissertation, she led and conducted an Analysis of a Telephone Reminiscence Program for Community-Dwelling Older Adults, a mixed methods study that examined the effectiveness of a telephone reminiscence program on mental health outcomes in community-dwelling older adults. A convergent parallel mixed-method design was employed in this study, which consisted of a randomized controlled trial and a semi-structured interview While Yuxuan has advanced the science of reminiscence by conducting rigorous research, she has been instrumental in training other STARR student members to facilitate reminiscence, conduct literature reviews, and collect data for a randomized control trial. Yuxuan’s work in reminiscence clearly meets the goals of the ICLIP through her research, dissemination of life story research findings, and her efforts to train and work with other students to conduct reminiscence research

Keynote Speaker

The Questions We Don't Ask but Should to Uncover Stories and Create Connection

As a professor of anthropology, I've always been fascinated by stories, and a few years ago, I started researching the stories that are passed down from generation to generation Part of my motivation was personal. After my mother died, I realized I knew very little of her formative years, the experiences that influenced who she was and in turn who I became In my research, I have found that many people wish they knew more about their parents and grandparents. I developed a set of "essential questions" that help people remember stories about their pasts, ways of life that have now vanished These questions are based on what an anthropologist would want to know about a person's way of life. In this talk I'll describe this anthropological approach to eliciting stories, and some of the reasons behind its surprising success.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Keating

Dr. Elizabeth Keating is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and her B A in Literature from the University of California, Berkeley Dr Keating has taught anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin for over 25 years. In addition to three books, Keating is author or

academic articles and book chapters for academic audiences and has given research presentations in 15 countries. She will describe an anthropological approach to eliciting stories Dr Keating’s most recent book, The Essential Questions: Interview your family to Uncover Stories and Bridge Generations, Keating uses anthropology to guide families seeking greater connection and communication across different generations.


The Best of Both Worlds: When Life Stories meet Digital Storytelling

Dr Mike Lang is a health researcher, filmmaker, and professional Digital Storytelling facilitator. He has directed and produced four featurelength documentaries, two short documentaries, and three web series about the human health experience in addition to numerous health education curricula Mike has also published 20 academic articles and facilitated the creation of over 900 digital

s th a diverse cross-section of patients, family c care professionals around the world His professional and research focus is on using digital storytelling and documentary filmmaking in education, advocacy, research, and a therapeutic capacity within healthcare and wellness contexts Connect with him on all socials.

Lisa Joworski, Therapeutic Recreation and Life Story Specialist

Lisa Joworski is a therapeutic recreation specialist, Guided Autobiography instructor and digital storytelling facilitator Since the late 1990s she has worked with individuals 65 years of age and older living with dementia and, since 2012, Lisa has been part of a geriatric mental health program in London, Ontario, Canada. In this role she has the opportunity to support individuals and their care partners

w g at home, attending a day program, in hospital, or have transitioned into retirement or long-term care In an effort to enhance the wellbeing of the senior population along with their formal and informal care partners, Lisa created AWE Struck! Aspirations as a platform to provide life story resources consisting of meaningful engagement ideas, digital storytelling and education.

Foster Lifebooks that Help Children Heal

Lisa‘s career began as the Director of a shelter and counseling program for runaway youth, followed by a decade as the CEO of a statewide children’s advocacy program which trained professionals and influenced policy and legislation related to child welfare and juvenile justice She spent over 25 years as a funder of programs for children through two private foundations located in Detroit and New Orleans

L an Adjunct Professor at Wayne State University, t Orleans and Tulane University’s School of Social W ds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit, an MSW from the University of Michigan and participated in the University of Colorado-Denver’s first national doctoral cohort in Nonprofit Management She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas

An Empowering Story: Writing for Life

Dr. Gerben Westerhof, Director of StoryLab, University of Twente, Netherlands

Gerben Westerhof is a Full Professor and the Department Chair of Psychology, Health, and Technology at the University of Twente, Netherlands Dr Westerhof has distinguished himself as one of the most gifted and prolific researchers in the fields of reminiscence, life review, and life story work His work is directly applicable to the work of therapists engaging clients in narrative and life review therapy

A en highly influential in the development of life r cognized treatment modality. Dr. Westerhof serves o of Narrative Works, and the International Journal of Reminiscence and Life Review. In recognition of Dr. Westerhof’s contributions to the field, he was honored with the Theoretical Developments in Social Gerontology Award of the Gerontological Society of America in 2009, and he was honored as a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America in 2015

Paper Presentations

Siblings Relationships

Sibling relationships are unique and have a profound impact on our development They are unique because they are lifelong, consistently changing or not, provide a sense of history, and shape the narrative of our lives The nature and influence of sibling attachments have been neglected clinically Our attachments to siblings or the lack thereof, can influence our internal working models of peers, colleagues, and friends. They can be a source of security and comfort, detachment, and endless conflicts. During this interactive presentation, participants will use a guided autobiography experience to identify the factors that impacted the quality of their sibling relationships

Diana Taylor, Ph D is a Clinical Psychologist with a diversity of training and experiences with an international population, including Guided Autobiography, trauma therapy, geriatric mental health, Attachment and Developmental issues throughout the Lifespan, acculturation issues, bereavement and depression, stress management, psychological aspects of parenting, divorce, and blended families, eating disorders, and fertility counseling

Robin Mintzer, Ph D is a clinical psychologist, attachment researcher, and teacher who has worked with older adults for 30 years Currently, she teaches at Pepperdine University and is the Codirector of the Los Angeles Attachment Study Group Dr Mintzer began attending the International Institute of Reminiscence and Life Review conferences in 2000 She has been a member of the Advisory Board and has served as Board Secretary

Paper Presentations

The Reminiscence Bump Effect in Autobiographies and Biographies: Differences in Frequency and Affect

The reminiscence bump effect is the frequent observation that older adults recall more life events from their teens, twenties, and early thirties than from other decades of life This study investigated the presence of a reminiscence bump in accounts of life events that are carefully organized and narrated over prolonged periods; specifically, those described in autobiographies and biographies Life events were collected from 16 autobiographies and 10 biographies. Each life event was categorized as positive, negative, or neutral In autobiographies, the reminiscence bump period represented an average of 24% of the authors’ lives at the time of publication; however, events from the reminiscence bump period comprised 45% of the number of pages In biographies, the reminiscence bump period represented an average of 19.13% of a person’s life at the time of publication, while life events from the reminiscence bump period took up an average of 30 64% of these works Events from the reminiscence bump period comprised a significantly larger percentage of events described in autobiographies than biographies, Χ2 (1, N = 2886) = 55 21, p < 001 For autobiographies, 38% of events were rated as positive, 24% as negative, and 38% as neutral. For biographies, 46% of life events were rated as positive, 17% as negative, and 37% as neutral A significantly higher percentage of life events were positive in biographies than in autobiographies, Χ2 (2, N = 1263) = 9 77, p = 008

Hanna Benz earned a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology at Radford University She has undergraduate degrees in psychology from Radford University and early childhood education from Louise-OttoPeters Schule in Wiesloch, Germany. Thomas W. Pierce is a Professor of Psychology at Radford University and serves as the Editor of the International Journal of Reminiscence and Life Review. He has a B.A. in Psychology from McGill University and a Ph D in Psychology from the University of Maine Grace Flood, M A , has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Edinboro University and a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Radford University

Paper Presentations

The Use of Oral Narrative Practice in Addressing Adversity

Galen Tinder

Oral autobiographical storytelling helps people face adversity and develop increased resilience, acceptance, and well-being. These benefits of oral narrative depend on three factors The first is an attentive listener who asks probing questions The second is a detailed telling of the difficult experiences. Third, the healthy processing and integration of oral narrative depends on an open exploration of the painful emotions that came with the original events and that present themselves in their retelling. Narrative psychologists like Dan McAdams, Jefferson Singer, and Jennifer Lilgendahl have demonstrated this, mostly through quantitative research. that healthy narrative processing produces results that benefit both the individual and larger society In this paper the presenter will argue that these benefits are most accessible and transformative through acts of oral narration. He will draw from his qualitative research in conducting more than 25 Structured Life Reviews, describing three case studies from this work.

Galen Tinder earned a Doctor of Ministry degree and is certified in Narrative Practice, Structured Life Review, and Guided Autobiography. He is an independent practitioner and writer

Paper Presentations

Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory as Reminiscence – or Maybe Not

Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) refers to the ability of a person to recall detailed episodic information from practically every day of their life (LePort, 2012). While a very rare condition, persons identified as possessing HSAM have been observed to provide accurate information about both public and private events for randomly selected days, and they appear to do so with little mental effort These remarkable feats of memory appear to be specific to autobiographical events, and, for the most part, they do not generalize to enhanced performance on tasks assessing other aspects of memory function For example, the ability to learn lists of words or numbers is not significantly greater in persons with than without HSAM. The goal of this presentation is to review what is known about HSAM and to explore its relation and relevance to the study of memory for personal history, as conceived by researchers and practitioners in the areas of narrative studies, reminiscence and life review, and life story work The central theme of this examination will be a discussion of whether recalling the factual, episodic nature of an event can be characterized as an act of reminiscence or if other cognitive or affective properties are required.

Thomas W Pierce is a Professor of Psychology at Radford University and serves as the Editor of the International Journal of Reminiscence and Life Review He has a B A in Psychology from McGill University and a Ph D in Psychology from the University of Maine.

Paper Presentations

“Life is Three Days: I am in the Second”: Guided Autobiography Experiences of Senior Gerontology

Bachelor Students

During the professional practice course, a Guided Autobiography (GAB) workshop was offered to 31 senior gerontology bachelor students at Muş Alparslan University in Türkiye Due to the time limitation, the themes were reduced to a 4-session workshop. In addition to the Introductory session, Branching Points, History of Family, Death, Ideas About Death, and Aims and Meaning of Life themes were selected for subsequent sessions. Students' opinions regarding GAB were collected via focus groups at the end of every last session The first theme of findings was the effect of GAB on their perspectives toward themselves and their classmates. GAB helped them break down prejudices against each other, establish new bonds, and confront the problems in their own lives The second finding theme was the contributions of GAB to professional life. Students believe that GAB may keep gerontologists and other professionals in the aging field from misunderstandings and communication problems with others due to an unknown story behind a person It also raised awareness among students regarding encounters with older people from different cultures, religions, beliefs, and traditions, which would help them to be flexible in their professional lives as gerontologists For older people, the students think that may strengthen the bond between seniors living in residential homes, serve as a guide to solving past problems, and have a vision for the future These findings parallel the studies with older people and professionals

Deniz Pamuk, Gerontologist, B Sc , M Sc , is a Ph D Student at Akdeniz University Department of Gerontology and she also works as a Research Assistant at Muş Alparslan University, Department of Gerontology. Her research interest is the use of Guided Autobiography with older adults

Paper Presentations

Remembered Relations and Relations of Remembrance: How Does Relationality Matter in LateLife Reminiscence?

Jessica Robbins-Panko

Cultivated practices of reminiscence (e.g., life-story writing, reminiscence therapy) can be pleasurable, meaningful, and therapeutic for older adults Underlying many such activities are assumptions about the individualist nature of personhood itself. Although reminiscence practices include both individual and social elements of remembering, less attention has focused on the myriad scales of social relations (interpersonal, institutional, regional, [trans]national) that are part of reminiscence activities This paper draws on anthropological theories of relational personhood, a review of interdisciplinary literature on late-life reminiscence, and ethnographic research in a residential memory-care community, to explore how multi-scalar relations shape personhood in late-life reminiscence practices.

Jessica Robbins-Panko earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan She is currently an Associate Professor, at the Institute of Gerontology and Department of Anthropology, Wayne State University

Paper Presentations

Voices of Older Drag Queens (Age 50+)

Conducting research in a new area that has limited publications requires a research design that is open and purposeful To achieve these goals, our team used both grounded theory and a lifespan framework to understand the lived experiences of older drag queen participants This allowed us to learn more thoroughly and directly about their lives and their worlds, without imposing researcher bias and stereotypes. The interview guide was informed by lifespan theory and framed around concepts such as familial support. The investigators collected data related to all life stages and included questions about parents, siblings, and close relationships The interviews illuminated shared episodic events and reflections on the history of drag.

Four presenters will share the life stories of the older drag queens interviewed, as well as innovation and best practices through the lenses of the particular approaches to life writing Presenter One will describe the methodology itself, delineating what the team learned about best practices. Presenter Two will scrutinize how the interview results relate to the discipline of human development and family sciences, particularly family or origin and chosen family Presenter Three will consider how interdisciplinary approaches from across the fields that comprise gender studies complicate understandings of gender both as a material reality and as a social construct as they appeared across interviews. Presenter Four will highlight how queer theory informs the analysis of these life stories. This symposium will highlight how multidisciplinary perspectives can provide vast entry points

Dr. Brian Chapman is currently an Assistant Professor in Residence and HDFS Regional Campus Coordinator at the University of Connecticut Laura K. M. Donorfio, is an Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Nels Highberg is a Professor of English and Modern Languages at the University of Hartford. Emma L. Chamberlin is a senior at the University of Connecticut, pursuing a double major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS).

Poster Presentations

Life Story Work to Enhance Person-centered Care: Evaluating a Civil Monetary Penalty Funded Project

Rick Kral

Knowing a person’s biography and life experience is crucial in personcentered care (PCC) planning and care delivery for residents living in long-term care facilities. This paper aimed to evaluate whether a personcentered education program and a life story book intervention enhanced PCC for nursing home residents. A pretest–posttest design was used to assess caregiver skills in PCC using a PersonCentered Assessment Tool (P-CAT) instrument to measure staff effects in terms of person-centered care and a resident survey to assess perceptions of satisfaction with the program The project used best practices in the use of life stories to develop and implement a federally funded program for a life story book intervention and staff training to enhance PCC plans and practices There was a statistically significant difference (p < 05) within the intervention groups in the subscale scores of the P-CAT and the total scores of the PCAT before and after the education sessions The results show over a 12% increase in scores and validate other research that the use of life story enhances person-centered care practices. Post-intervention satisfaction scores represent a 19% increase in resident satisfaction with the program The use of life story books can be an integral part of a person-centered care program

Rick Kral, DNP, RN, LNHA, NEA-BC, CDP is a gerontologist and President & Founder of 2nomi

Poster Presentations

Analysis of the Impact of a Telephone Reminiscence Program on Mental Health for Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Mixed Methods Study

Reminiscence interventions are commonly used with older adults and are effective in reducing loneliness and improving mental health outcomes. By technological developments, an automated telephone-based simple reminiscence program called Storii was developed The study aimed to evaluate the effect of Storii on loneliness, life satisfaction, and mental well-being in community-dwelling older adults A convergent parallel mixed-method design was employed, which consisted of a randomized controlled trial and a semi-structured interview. Quantitative data was analyzed by R, and Qualitative data analysis was conducted by content analysis. The data from the qualitative phases was merged into the randomized control trial study using joint displays Meta-inferences were generated Sixty older adults were included in the study In the quantitative strand, there were statistically significant improvements in emotional well-being (p= 028), psychological well-being (p= 013), overall mental well-being (p=.016), life satisfaction (p=.009) among older adults in the experimental group, compared to the wait-list control group For the qualitative strand, content analysis revealed six themes The comparison of quantitative and qualitative strands generated one discordant and four complementarity findings under each outcome examined. Results demonstrate the telephone reminiscence program to be a well-accepted and promising intervention for this sample of community-dwelling older adults This study sheds light on how the telephone reminiscence intention may contribute to mental well-being in older adults The mechanism underlying the intervention includes fostering a sense of connection, improving coping skills, and shifting selfperception among older adults.

Yuxuan Yang earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the Shantou University, Shantou China She entered the BS-PhD program in the Fall of 2018 She will graduate in May 2024

Poster Presentations

A Series of Reminiscence Research Projects in Jordan: A Call to Advance Psychogeriatrics Nursing among Arabic-Speaking Population

Background: Reminiscence is conducive to different mental health outcomes Reminiscence varies across cultures, and further studies are warranted to examine reminiscence functions and their correlation with mental health. Purpose: The current poster aims to show a series of reminiscence research studies conducted in Jordan and highlights these studies’ results in terms of the relationship between reminiscence functions and mental health.

Methods: The published studies used different research methods, sampling approaches, and statistical analyses

Results: The Arabic Reminiscence Functions Scale showed fit and indicated strict measurement invariance across genders Selftranscendence exerts a positive, partial mediating effect between “Bitterness Revival” and death anxiety, controlling for other covariates in the death anxiety model (p = 016) Loneliness has a negative, partial mediating effect on Intimacy Maintenance and depression. In intervention studies, findings suggest the acceptability of reminiscence, and statistically significant, and clinically relevant differences were found in all outcome measures before and after reminiscence sessions.

Future studies: To test reminiscence functions among people living with schizophrenia; examine the relationship between reminiscence functions and depressive symptoms in people with mild dementia and investigate the impact of cognitive reminiscence therapy in reducing depressive symptoms in patients with bipolar disorders and schizophrenia

Abdallah Abu Khait earned his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing in 2020 He is currently an assistant professor at the Hashemite University, SON in Jordan.

Poster Presentations

STARR: Students Advancing Reminiscence Research: Our History and Future Directions

Britney Toussaint, Yuxuan Yang, Eliana Likamora, Shivanie Harbaran, Candice Betances, Rosemarie Valenzuela & Dr. Juliette Shellman

STARR was formed 13 years ago at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and has continued at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing since 2012 Our mission is to advance the science of reminiscence and life review through students’ projects and collaboration Through the years both undergraduate and graduate students have participated in STARR by conducting a variety of reminiscence research projects ranging from literature reviews to mixed methods studies Hands-on research experiences include developing proposals, collecting data, implementing an intervention, co-authoring manuscripts, and disseminating results at local, national, and international conferences. During this presentation, we present our history and discuss our accomplishments and plans for the future.

Britney Toussaint earned a BS with a minor in psychology from the University of Connecticut ‘23, Yuxuan Yang, Yuxuan Yang earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the Shantou University, Shantou China

She completed her dissertation defense and will graduate in May 2024 Eliana Likamora,

Candice Betances, Shivanie Harbaran, and Rosemarie Valenzuela are honors students at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

Thank You

Dear conference participants,

As director of the International Center for Life Story Innovations and Practice, I thank you for attending our second virtual international conference at the University of Connecticut.

Our conference continues the legacy of the National Reminiscence and Life Review Society, fostering collaboration, innovation, and knowledge exchange in our field. I want to express my gratitude to our UConn faculty and student presenters, Dean Dickson for her support, and everyone who contributed to making this event possible.

Thank you for being here today. Whether you're a longstanding member or new to our community, your participation is invaluable. I hope you found the conference inspiring and rewarding.

Warm regards,


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