Date of Award
Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
Bridging the Gap Between Adult Children and Their Aging Parents: Developing and Assessing a Life Review Education Program
Background: The parent-child relationship is one of the most influential and integral relationships in the life of both members of the dyad. Studies show that the parent-child relationship continues to maintain a place of great importance throughout the life course. In the steadily aging population of the United States, the value of the parent-child relationship is often minimized or overlooked by shifting the focus from a role of parent/child to patient/caregiver. Purpose: The purpose of this mixed-methods exploratory study was to design and implement a Life Review Education (LRE) intervention to: (a) increase understanding; and, (b) facilitate communication within the aging adult/adult child dyad, thereby generating knowledge on the emotional and psychological aspect of the relationship. Methods: The study used a pre-post test design. Ten adult children of aging parents participated in “Bridging the Gap,” a pilot psychoeducational group that implemented Life Review Education through a structured, 75-minute, manualized intervention. The intervention group took place in a physical therapy center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Measures: The study assessed subjects’ understanding of life review using the Life Review Understanding Questionnaire (L-RUQ) and the impact of life review education on their communication via the Family Problem Solving Communication Scale (FPSC). The study employed qualitative interviews to gain a more in-depth understanding of the program’s effect on participants. Results: Findings supported the positive impact of the intervention on the adult child’s understanding of life review as well as the positive benefits of a psychoeducational group format. Scores on the FSPC scale did not indicate a statistically significant change in communication within the dyad. The impact of this program on family communication is in need of further examination. Conclusion: This exploratory study serves to integrate the concepts of life review, aging adult/adult child dyads, and psychoeducation and lays the groundwork for future exploration and implementation of life review education.
Brzozowski, Kathryn M. DSW, LCSW, "Bridging the Gap Between Adult Children and Their Aging Parents: Developing and Assessing a Life Review Education Program" (2013). Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) Dissertations. 40.