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Memory. 2009 Nov;17(8):892-903. doi: 10.1080/09658210903376243.

Associations between components of rumination and autobiographical memory specificity as measured by a Minimal Instructions Autobiographical Memory Test.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102 box 3712, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Clinical studies have shown that rumination functions as a mediator between overgeneral memory-the tendency to retrieve autobiographical memories in a non-specific format-and depression. Recently, rumination has been dismantled into two distinct subcomponents: reflection, which is more adaptive, and brooding, which is more maladaptive. In the present study we examined the differential relationships of these two rumination subcomponents with autobiographical memory specificity and their mediational role for the relationship between reduced memory specificity and depression in a non-clinical sample. In addition, we investigated the usefulness of a "minimal instructions" version of the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) to measure memory specificity in non-clinical populations. Results indicated that the use of minimal instructions can increase the AMT's sensitivity to detect reduced autobiographical memory specificity in non-clinical individuals. Further it was found that brooding, and not reflection, is significantly associated with reduced autobiographical memory specificity and functions as a mediator between reduced memory specificity and depression.

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