International Journal of Research in Nursing

The Effect of a Small Group Life Story Intervention with Rural Community Dwelling Older Adults

Lillian Felicia Jones and Mary A. Nies

DOI : 10.3844/ijrnsp.2017.10.16

International Journal of Research in Nursing

Volume 8, Issue 2

Pages 10-16


To determine if a small group life story nursing intervention can be beneficial to rural community dwelling older adults by decreasing depression scores and increasing perceived social support scores. This study employed a quasi-experimental one group pretest/posttest design. This study was conducted in thirteen rural senior facilities with a community population of less than 20,000 in two western states in the United States. 137 English-speaking volunteers over age 60 years from 13 senior centers were screened for dementia and depression to determine eligibility for the study. Eligibility was established by a negative dementia screen and a score of four or greater on the Geriatric Depression Scale short version. Of the 137 volunteers, 40 were eligible and asked to participate in intervention groups, three centers had the most participants willing to participate in intervention groups, these groups were composed of four volunteers each. This study utilized the Geriatric Depression Scale short version and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support for pre-and post-testing. The intervention consisted of four hourly group sessions involving storytelling about life events. No significant difference was noted between pretest and posttest scores based on the intervention. Participant evaluation of the small group activity indicated that increased social interaction was the greatest benefit derived from the intervention. The intervention did not significantly decrease depression scores or increase perceived social support scores; however, small group life story interventions may have utility in increasing social interaction and increasing social connections among rural older adults. It is recommended that future studies use a pre-existing support group for the small group intervention or members of a rural assisted living facility where depression rates can be high.


© 2017 Lillian Felicia Jones and Mary A. Nies. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.