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Behav Res Ther. 2010 Apr;48(4):328-34. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2009.12.006. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Impaired autobiographical memory in complicated grief.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, N.S.W. 2052, Australia.


This study investigated the relationship between autobiographical memory and goals in complicated grief (CG). Twenty-four individuals with CG and 21 bereaved individuals without CG completed an autobiographical memory task and a personal goals task. CG participants were more likely to recall memories related to their loss, particularly in response to negative cues. There was a positive relationship between the proportion of loss-related memories recalled and the proportion of grief-related goals held by individuals after controlling for symptom level. Individuals with CG also showed impaired retrieval of specific autobiographical memories in response to both positive and negative cues. These results suggest that CG is characterised by impaired and biased retrieval of specific autobiographical memories. These patterns are consistent with propositions stemming from the self-memory models of autobiographical memory.

2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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