This paper presents the results of a meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness of reminiscence on psychological well-being across different target groups and treatment modalities. Fifteen controlled outcome studies were included. An overall effect size of 0.54 was found, indicating a moderate influence of reminiscence on life-satisfaction and emotional well-being in older adults. Life-review was found to have significantly greater effect on psychological well-being than simple reminiscence. In addition, reminiscence had significantly greater effect on community-dwelling adults than adults living in nursing homes or residential care. Other characteristics of participants or interventions were not found to moderate effects. It is concluded that reminiscence in general, but especially life review, are potentially effective methods for the enhancement of psychological well-being in older adults. However, a replication of effectiveness studies of the well-defined protocols is now warranted. © 2007 Taylor & Francis.