Autobiographical memory and depression : an investigation of over general memory processing on recall tasks
Depression is a prevalent diagnosis within psychiatric populations. People with depression have been shown to recall over general autobiographical memories. The current study uses a cognitive stage model of memory to explain the retrieval processes involved in autobiographical memory. Two memory tasks were used: a standard cued recall task and a free recall cued task. Thirty individuals participated in the study: 15 clinically depressed individuals and 15 non-depressed controls. Analysis showed that the depressed group were significantly more over general than the comparison group. The free recall task provided data on the processes involved in retrieving a specific memory. The depressed group were observed to experience an aberration in this process. Further, they were less able to navigate around the autobiographical memory network. Large effect sizes were found between the groups. The implications of these findings in terms of self concept and difficulties problem solving are discussed. In addition, the consequences for assessment, diagnosis, treatment and relapse are explored. Recommendations for future research are made.