Research on Guided Autobiography: A Review of Content, Process, and Outcome


  • Brian de Vries
  • James E. Thornton


Guided Autobiography (GAB) is a structured, thematic, group approach to life review. Since its development by James Birren, it has been widely used and has generated empirical research. The focus of our article is on this research investigating 1) the content of GAB (defined in terms of the assigned themes); 2) the GAB process (as explicitly designed and how it implicitly manifests in the experience of learning); and 3) outcomes of GAB (both tangible, e.g., a written life review document, and subjective, such as increases in mastery and decreases in depression). The existing research supports the premises of GAB and suggestions for subsequent research are offered.