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Guided Autobiography: New Learning Based on Past Experience

GAB research in conjunction with the Beverly Foundation found the following:

140 participants in the GAB program that took place during Fall 2000 and Spring 2001 were included in pre- and post-test evaluations. Within the group: 73% were female (27% were male); 35% were married and 35% were widowed, (17% were single and 11% were divorced or separated); 83% were Caucasian (4% were Hispanic, 4% were Asian, 2% were African American and 7% identified themselves as other). Almost 70% lived alone or with a relative. The educational and employment status of the participants is indicated below.

In addition to the high level of education and the high number of retiree participants in the course, as many as 20% had an annual household income of at least $100,000.

The evaluations of these participants indicated that they believed participation in GAB results in several outcomes. (1) They are stimulated to recall their life events and to develop an accepting view of them. (2) They believe the combination of a systematic review of the major themes of life, the sharing of life stories, and the group experience in doing so result in a more integrated perspective. (3) They often identify their participation as leading to more accepting attitudes towards others.

The latter result is evidenced by the fact that group members often continue contact after the 10-week program, holding reunions and corresponding to keep up-to-date on one another's lives. This suggests that participation in the GAB experience can lead to new friendships and perhaps, confidant relationships.

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