Autobiographical memory specificity, psychopathology, depressed mood and the use of the Autobiographical Memory Test: A meta-analysis

  • Van Vreeswijk M
  • De Wilde E
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Abstract

Reviewing the literature on autobiographical memory overgenerality, as measured by a cueing task like the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT), gives a diffuse view of the moderating role of depression. This meta-analysis is an attempt to investigate the role of depression in the specificity of autobiographical memory, while accounting for the role of patient and task variables as possible moderators. Meta-analytic techniques are used to synthesize data from 14 studies on the recall of specific autobiographical memories in psychiatric and non-psychiatric samples. The results confirm the relationship between overgenerality and depression. The psychiatric patients are less specific than their non-clinical controls. It is not possible to establish that this result is solely due to a (co-morbid) diagnosis of depression. Self-reported depressed mood is also related to an impairment of autobiographical memory specificity. The way of presenting cues, audio taping responses and the maximum available amount of time to respond, are moderators of AMT performance. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autobiographical Memory Test
  • Depression
  • Depressive mood
  • Meta-analysis

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Authors

  • Michiel F. Van Vreeswijk

  • Erik Jan De Wilde

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