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The Effect of Fiction on the Well-Being of Older Adults: A Longitudinal RCT Intervention Study Using Audiobooks

Poerio, Giulia and Totterdell, Peter (2020) 'The Effect of Fiction on the Well-Being of Older Adults: A Longitudinal RCT Intervention Study Using Audiobooks.' Psychosocial Intervention, 29 (1). 29 - 38. ISSN 1132-0559

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Abstract

Research has examined the psychological benefits of fiction, particularly for socio-cognitive and interpersonal processes, but has yet to examine whether it can have an impact on individuals’ personal well-being in a natural setting over time. A longitudinal randomized control trial (RCT) using audiobooks was conducted to compare the effects of fiction (novels, short stories) and non-fiction on the well-being (subjective, eudaimonic, social) of 94 older adults from diverse urbancommunities over a six-week period. Participants chose one of four books in the condition to which they were allocated. The participants in the fiction, compared to non-fiction, conditions did not show greater improvements in any aspect ofwell-being over the study period. However, regression analysis controlling for initial levels of well-being showed that individuals who reported greater absorption in, and appreciation of, their audiobook showed greater subsequent wellbeing, particularly meaning in life, that extended beyond book completion. The findings indicate that an audiobook can have a positive enduring impact on various aspects of older adults’ well-being, but it depends on them having a personalengagement with its content, and not on its designation as fiction or non-fiction.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fiction, Well-being, Meaning, Absorption, Bibliotherapy.
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2020 18:26
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2020 18:26
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27752

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