Reduced Specificity and Increased Overgenerality of Autobiographical Memory Persist as Cognitive Vulnerabilities in Remitted Major Depression: A Meta-Analysis

D. J. Hallford, D. Rusanov, J. J. E. Yeow, T. J. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Difficulty in accessing specific memories, referred to as reduced memory specificity or overgeneral memory (OGM), has been established as a marker of clinical depression. However, it is not clear if this deficit persists following the remission of depressive episodes. The current study involved a systematic review and meta-analysis of empirical studies with the aim of establishing whether remitted depression was associated with retrieving fewer specific and more overgeneral autobiographical memories. Seventeen studies were identified as eligible. The results indicated that people with remitted depression recalled fewer specific memories (k = 15; g = −0.314, 95% CI [−0.543; −0.085], z = −2.69, p =.007) and more categoric memories (k = 9; g = 0.254, 95% CI [0.007; 0.501], z = 2.02, p =.043) compared to people who had never been depressed. Given these deficits have elsewhere been shown to be prognostic of future depressive symptoms, these findings suggest that reduced memory specificity/overgeneral memory persists following remission and may be a risk factor for future episodes of depression in those that are in remission. The findings are discussed in terms of how this knowledge might influence clinical understanding of relapse prevention and maintenance of remission in those with a history of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1529
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date21 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • major depression
  • memory specificity
  • meta-analysis
  • overgeneral memory
  • remission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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