Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 88 Issue 1 (March 2015), Pages 1-126

Does cognitive‐behavioural therapy promote meaning making? A preliminary test in the context of geriatric depression (pages 120-124)

Objectives

This study examined the extent to which cognitive‐behavioural therapy (CBT) for geriatric depression promoted meaning made of stress.

Design

Fifty‐one participants received CBT and were assessed at pre‐ and post‐treatment.

Methods

The primary outcome was the Integration of Stressful Life Experiences Scale (ISLES) and demographic factors were examined as moderators of changes over time.

Results

Those with more education showed improvement in their ability to regain positive values, worldviews, and purpose in life after a stressor.

Conclusions

It appears that CBT promotes some forms of meaning made of stress for those with higher education.

Practitioner points

  • Cognitive‐behavioural therapy as it is routinely practiced may help highly educated older adults regain their Footing in the World (e.g., maintain positive values, worldviews, and purpose in life) in the aftermath of a stressful life event.
  • Cognitive‐behavioural therapy appears to offer fewer gains for less educated older adults (in terms of Footing in the World) as well as for other aspects of meaning‐making, such as the ability to ‘make sense’ of a significant stressor.
  • Although more empirical work is necessary, meaning‐oriented interventions (e.g., ‘re‐authoring’ a fragmented self‐narrative; Neimeyer, 2009, p. 97) hold promise as useful adjuncts to routine therapy that could augment outcomes.

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