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Memory. 2014;22(6):646-54. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2013.811254. Epub 2013 Jul 16.

Rumination and specificity of autobiographical memory in dysphoria.

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  • 1a Department of Psychology , Complutense University of Madrid , Madrid , Spain.


Low autobiographical memory specificity has been a commonly recurring phenomenon in depression. Difficulty in remembering specific details in autobiographical memory tests has been related to rumination, although the nature of this relation is not clear yet. In the present study, we evaluated differences in overgeneral memory patterns between dysphoric (n=65) and nondysphoric participants (n=74) using a free-recall method that may be more suitable for detecting overgeneral memory patterns than previously used methods. Furthermore, this study examined whether a specific maladaptive component of rumination (i.e., brooding response style) is particularly related to autobiographical memory patterns in depression. Our results showed that dysphoric participants reported less positive specific memories, and more extended and categoric memories than nondysphoric individuals. Furthermore, correlation analyses showed that the maladaptive component of rumination (i.e., brooding), but not the adaptive component of rumination (i.e., reflection), was specifically associated to the reduced autobiographical memory specificity found in dysphoric participants.

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