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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Intergenerational life review group with Canadian World War II veterans and Canadian peacekeepers Gervais, Deanne Marie


The following research study was an ethnographic case study of an intergenerational life review/guided autobiography group consisting of four World War II veterans, five peacekeepers and one member who was a World War II veteran, a Korean veteran and a peacekeeper. The group members ranged in age from 30 to 82. All ten group members participated in a six week life review program (LRP) followed by an individual audio-taped interview. This interview was followed up by a validation interview. The purpose of this research was twofold. There were the research goals coupled with the goals, and intended benefits to, the participants. These goals and benefits often overlapped. The research goal was to answer four questions posed at the beginning of the study. They were: 1) What are the specific competencies, skills and knowledge needed for successful re-entry into civilian life? 2) Can these skills, competencies, and knowledge be successfully passed on in an intergenerational LRP involving both World War II veterans and peacekeepers? 3) Will the intergenerational passing on and receiving of these competencies, skills and knowledge lead to increased feelings of efficacy on the part of both World War II veterans and peacekeepers? 4) What changed for the individual during the course of the program and do they view their lives differently after the guided autobiography/life review experience? The goals, or intended benefits, to the participants were not formulated before the study but instead the method of grounded theory was employed. Grounded theory can be described as "a general methodology for developing theory that is grounded in data, systematically gathered and analyzed" (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 278). Evidence emerged for two of Birren and Deutchman's (1991) seven outcomes. Those two outcomes were: 1) recognition of past adaptive strategies and application to current needs and problems and 2) development of friendships with other group members. Ten new outcomes were also identified. They were: 1) normalization of one's reactions to trauma or to events (e.g. re-entry); 2) the receipt of specific advice, ideas, or assistance; 3) engendering of hope; 4) relief or emotional release in telling one's story; 5) feeling heard/being listened to; 6) relating/commonality with others; 7) new awareness or heightened awareness of one's contributions and/or abilities; 8) new awareness or heightened awareness of others' contributions and/or abilities; 9) positive feelings obtained from others' responses to one's story; and 10) a new appreciation of one's life through comparison with other group members' lives.

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