Autobiographical memory in the eutymic phase of recurrent depression

Department of Psychology, Leiden University, Netherlands.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.15). 09/2006; 115(3):590-600. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.115.3.590
Source: PubMed


The authors investigated autobiographical memory specificity in subjects who formerly had depression. In 122 euthymic patients with at least two previous major depressive episodes, memory specificity was significantly impaired compared to matched control participants but not related to residual symptoms and illness characteristics, was not differentially affected by cognitive therapy, and was also not predictive of relapse/recurrence during the 2-year follow-up. However, memory specificity was associated with age, education, and immediate and delayed memory recall. The results suggest that memory specificity may reflect a global cognitive impairment that remains in patients who (formerly) had depression but does not constitute a trait marker for vulnerability for relapse/recurrence.

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Available from: Claudi L H Bockting
    • "Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), when compared to healthy controls (HCs), recall fewer specific autobiographical memories (AMs), defined as episodic memories of personally experienced events, and instead recall more categorical AMs, defined as summaries of recurring events (Williams et al. 2007). This effect persists despite remission of depressive symptoms in patients with recurrent depression (Mackinger et al. 2000; Nandrino et al. 2002; Spinhoven et al. 2006), seems to be unrelated to symptom severity (Wessel et al. 2001; Gibbs & Rude, 2004) and manifests in healthy individuals at high familial risk for developing depression (Young et al. 2013a). These results suggest that overgeneral AM retrieval may act as a vulnerability factor influencing the development of MDD (Brittlebank et al. 1993; Young et al. 2013a). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) tested in either the depressed (dMDD) or remitted phase (rMDD) recall fewer specific and more categorical autobiographical memories (AMs) compared to healthy controls (HCs). The current study aimed to replicate findings of AM overgenerality in dMDD or rMDD, and to elucidate differences in neurophysiological correlates of AM recall between these MDD samples and HCs. Method: Unmedicated participants who met criteria for the dMDD, rMDD or HC groups (n = 16/group) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while recalling AMs in response to emotionally valenced cue words. Control tasks involved generating examples from an assigned semantic category and counting the number of risers in a letter string. Results: The results showed fewer specific and more categorical AMs in both MDD samples versus HCs; dMDDs and rMDDs performed similarly on these measures. The neuroimaging results showed differences between groups in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), anterior insula, inferior temporal gyrus and parahippocampus/hippocampus during specific AM recall versus example generation. During specific AM recall cued by positively valenced words, group differences were evident in the DMPFC, middle temporal gyrus, parahippocampus/hippocampus and occipital gyrus, whereas differences during specific AM recall cued by negatively valenced words were evident in the DMPFC, superior temporal gyrus and hippocampus. Conclusions: AM deficits exist in rMDDs, suggesting that these impairments constitute trait-like abnormalities in MDD. We also found distinct patterns of hemodynamic activity for each group as they recalled specific AMs, raising the possibility that each group used a partly unique strategy for self-referential focus during successful retrieval of specific memories.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Psychological Medicine
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    • "It is also one of the longest follow-up studies on OGM in general, together with those by Spinhoven et al. (2006) and Bryant, Sutherland, and Guthrie (2007), which included follow-up periods for 49 and 24 months respectively. We hypothesised that OGM at baseline would predict the trajectory of anxiety and depression. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated whether overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) predicts the course of symptoms of depression and anxiety in a community sample, after 5, 6, 12 and 18 months. Participants (N = 156) completed the Autobiographical Memory Test and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21 (DASS-21) at baseline and were subsequently reassessed using the DASS-21 at four time points over a period of 18 months. Using latent growth curve modelling, we found that OGM was associated with a linear increase in depression. We were unable to detect changes over time in anxiety. OGM may be an important marker to identify people at risk for depression in the future, but more research is needed with anxiety.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Cognition and Emotion
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    • "Moreover, some studies have found impaired executive abilities in those with recurrent, but not single, previous episodes (Kessing, 1998; Paelecke-Habermann et al., 2005). This is noteworthy in light of evidence for possible differences in AMS between single episode and recurrent patients, assessed when euthymic (Nandrino et al., 2002; Spinhoven et al., 2006), and suggests that the relationship between AMS and executive dysfunction in euthymic individuals with recurrent previous depression is worth examining further. Here we sought to replicate and extend previous work by investigating autobiographical memory deficits in recovered depressed individuals. "
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    ABSTRACT: Depressed individuals have difficulty remembering specific autobiographical events. These deficits often persist after recovery of mood symptoms, but the mechanisms underlying impaired memory specificity in recovered depressed individuals remain unclear. Here, we sought to examine whether performance on two cognitive measures might be related to deficits in autobiographical memory retrieval in individuals with a history of depression. Twenty-four recovered depressed women (12 with more than one previous episode) and 24 never depressed women completed two cognitive measures (Digit Span and a Number Generation Task) and tests of autobiographical memory recall. Overall, the recovered depressed women did not show deficits in autobiographical retrieval. However, those with more than one previous episode had impaired retrieval of categorical autobiographical memories. Moreover, depression history moderated the relationship between Digit Span and retrieval of categoric autobiographical memories such that within the whole recovered depressed group (but not the never depressed group), those with lower Digit Span also had poorer retrieval of categorical autobiographical memories. Our sample size was small and included only women. Moreover, order effects may have been a significant factor. These findings support the notion that working memory is an important factor in impairing autobiographical memory in those who have recovered from depression, but suggest a complex relationship with autobiographical recall.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
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