2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/163460
Category:
Abstract
Type:
Presentation
Title:
Themes in the life stories of a population of older adults
Author(s):
Sayre, Joan
Author Details:
Joan Sayre, Hunter College, The City University of New York, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, New York, New York, USA, email: jsayre@hunter.cuny.edu
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine reminiscence content in older adults in order to answer the research question: What do people talk about when they remember the past? The theoretical sample consisted of 28 adults (W: 19; M: 9) between the ages of 68 and 96 living in the community. The personal narratives obtained from participants were defined as categories of literary discourse constructed for the purpose of telling one's life story and were interpreted as sequences in time- the beginning, the middle and the resolution of life events as evaluated in the present. The methodology used was narrative analysis in which human memory is conceptualized as a continuous process of organizing experience in story form. The findings consisted of four specific themes through which life experiences can be communicated: achievement, activism, nostalgia and survival. Individuals who told stories of achievement cited either obstacles or advantages which were overcome or utilized to achieve life goals. Stories with a social activism theme were structured primarily in terms of political struggle, such as participation in civil rights and labor movements. Nostalgic life stories focused on formerly happy circumstances, usually in childhood, often including negative comparisons between present day situations and the past, while survival stories were characterized by the perspective that life is a continuous series of traumas and problems with which individuals are forced to cope. These themes are symbolic guides to the way older adults frame their past and define what is significant to them in the present. Clinical implications of these findings include using the life story metaphor as a way of understanding the experiences of older clients and to serve as topical guidelines for conducting reminiscence groups. Clients who have not fully developed a story of their lives could be encouraged to describe their personal history as a way of reinforcing identity and a sense of purpose. Clinicians might also encourage persons whose stories emphasize painful issues such as illness and bereavement to articulate their anxieties and retell their stories in a way which focuses on more gratifying themes. Viewing life stories from a narrative framework, in which reminiscence is examined as a life text, provides a method for understanding how individuals interpret their lives and may help to elicit the descriptive data about past life experience currently lacking in the nursing literature. Further research is needed to determine if the reminiscence content of this sample is similar to that of other groups of older adults and to test the proposition that for every life a few central themes tend to predominate.
Repository Posting Date:
27-Oct-2011
Date of Publication:
27-Oct-2011
Conference Date:
2002
Conference Name:
14th Annual Scientific Sessions
Conference Host:
Eastern Nursing Research Society
Conference Location:
University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Note:
This is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission. Alternatively, please contact the conference host, journal, or publisher (according to the circumstance) for further details regarding this item. If a citation is listed in this record, the item has been published and is available via open-access avenues or a journal/database subscription. Contact your library for assistance in obtaining the as-published article.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.type.categoryAbstracten_US
dc.typePresentationen_GB
dc.titleThemes in the life stories of a population of older adultsen_GB
dc.contributor.authorSayre, Joanen_US
dc.author.detailsJoan Sayre, Hunter College, The City University of New York, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, New York, New York, USA, email: jsayre@hunter.cuny.eduen_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/163460-
dc.description.abstractThe purpose of this study was to examine reminiscence content in older adults in order to answer the research question: What do people talk about when they remember the past? The theoretical sample consisted of 28 adults (W: 19; M: 9) between the ages of 68 and 96 living in the community. The personal narratives obtained from participants were defined as categories of literary discourse constructed for the purpose of telling one's life story and were interpreted as sequences in time- the beginning, the middle and the resolution of life events as evaluated in the present. The methodology used was narrative analysis in which human memory is conceptualized as a continuous process of organizing experience in story form. The findings consisted of four specific themes through which life experiences can be communicated: achievement, activism, nostalgia and survival. Individuals who told stories of achievement cited either obstacles or advantages which were overcome or utilized to achieve life goals. Stories with a social activism theme were structured primarily in terms of political struggle, such as participation in civil rights and labor movements. Nostalgic life stories focused on formerly happy circumstances, usually in childhood, often including negative comparisons between present day situations and the past, while survival stories were characterized by the perspective that life is a continuous series of traumas and problems with which individuals are forced to cope. These themes are symbolic guides to the way older adults frame their past and define what is significant to them in the present. Clinical implications of these findings include using the life story metaphor as a way of understanding the experiences of older clients and to serve as topical guidelines for conducting reminiscence groups. Clients who have not fully developed a story of their lives could be encouraged to describe their personal history as a way of reinforcing identity and a sense of purpose. Clinicians might also encourage persons whose stories emphasize painful issues such as illness and bereavement to articulate their anxieties and retell their stories in a way which focuses on more gratifying themes. Viewing life stories from a narrative framework, in which reminiscence is examined as a life text, provides a method for understanding how individuals interpret their lives and may help to elicit the descriptive data about past life experience currently lacking in the nursing literature. Further research is needed to determine if the reminiscence content of this sample is similar to that of other groups of older adults and to test the proposition that for every life a few central themes tend to predominate.en_GB
dc.date.available2011-10-27T11:07:59Z-
dc.date.issued2011-10-27en_GB
dc.date.accessioned2011-10-27T11:07:59Z-
dc.conference.date2002en_US
dc.conference.name14th Annual Scientific Sessionsen_US
dc.conference.hostEastern Nursing Research Societyen_US
dc.conference.locationUniversity Park, Pennsylvania, USAen_US
dc.description.noteThis is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission. Alternatively, please contact the conference host, journal, or publisher (according to the circumstance) for further details regarding this item. If a citation is listed in this record, the item has been published and is available via open-access avenues or a journal/database subscription. Contact your library for assistance in obtaining the as-published article.-
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