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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2007;64(1):1-11.

Autobiographical memory and depression in the later age: the bump is a turning point.

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  • 1University of Tilburg, The Netherlands.


This preliminary study integrated previous findings of the distribution of autobiographical memories in the later age according to their age of occurrence, with the overgeneral memory bias predictive of depression. Twenty-five non-demented, Israeli participants between 65-89 years of age provided autobiographical memories to 4 groups of word cues reflecting events from childhood, adolescence, adulthood and late age. Their autobiographical responses were coded for degree of specificity of mentioning people, place and time. They additionally completed the Geriatric Depression Scale (Sheikh & Yesavage, 1986). We found that specificity of memories for adolescence cue-words ("the reminiscence bump") was significantly and inversely correlated with depression (r = -0.61), and this remained significant after controlling for gender and education. The study's limitations and the possibility that puberty hormones may be involved in memory and later age depression are discussed.

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