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A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effect of reminiscence therapy for people with dementia

  • Kyongok Park (a1), Seonhye Lee (a2), JeongEun Yang (a3), Taekwon Song (a3) and Gwi-Ryung Son Hong (a3)...



The main objective of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis to identify the effects of reminiscence therapy in people with dementia (PWD).


A systematic search of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted using bibliographic databases. A total of 157 original published studies were identified in the search, and 24 complete articles were included in the final review to check for the level of evidence. Two of the study authors independently assessed the quality of the included studies using the “Risk of Bias” (ROB) tool developed by the Cochrane Collaboration. Depression, quality of life, and behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) were selected to measure the effect of reminiscence therapy. To determine the effects of reminiscence therapy on these variables, each individual study was analyzed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Software® (Biostat, Englewood, NJ, USA).


The overall effect size was presented using standardized mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals. Cohen’s d effect size for depression was −0.541 (95% CI: −0.847 to −0.234, Z = −3.730, p<0.001), indicating that depression was significantly reduced in the reminiscence group compared to the control group. Increased quality of life and decreased BPSD were also found in the reminiscence group compared to the control group.


Reminiscence therapy has a moderate effect on depression and can be broadly used to decrease depression as an alternative to antipsychotics, which can have harmful side effects and high cost.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Gwi-Ryung Son Hong, College of Nursing, Hanyang University, #222 Wangsimni-ro, Sungdong-gu, Seoul 04763, Korea. Phone: (+82-2) 2220-0701; Fax: (+82-2) 2295-2074. Email:


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