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Title: Specificity of autobiographical memory in later life : an exploration of the contribution of cognitive functioning, current symptoms of depression and post-traumatic distress
Author: Robinson, Sarah Rachael
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 1924
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2011
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Background. Overgeneral Memory (OGM) is a tendency to recall summaries of events, rather than specific occasions. OGM is a predictor of psychopathology outcome and acts as a barrier to problem-solving and conjuring hope for the future. There is a current paucity of research considering OGM in older adults (OA-those over 65 years old). Aim. The aim of the current research is to explore how OGM exists within OA, and the relationship between OGM and cognitive functioning, depressive symptoms, and symptoms of post-trauma distress. Method. OA (65-96 years old, N =35) completed the Autobiographical Memory Test, Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (revised version), Geriatric Depression Scale, and Post-traumatic Distress Scale. Correlations between the variables were considered. Additionally, a regression analysis highlighted the amount of variance in OGM that could be accounted for by the variables. Results. The participants showed higher levels of OGM than is commonly found in working-aged adults. OGM was found to have a medium-sized relationship with cognitive functioning, and a small-sized relationship with depression and post-trauma distress. The relationship between depression and OGM was not significant. Post- trauma distress and OGM was only found to be significant when cognitive functioning was controlled for. The three variables accounted for 42% of the variability in OGM. There was no difference in levels of OGM when cue words were positive or negative emotive words. Conclusions. Cognitive impairment had a greater influence on OGM than depression and post-trauma distress. However a significant proportion of the sample showed levels of cognitive impairment. The implications of OA demonstrating increased levels of OGM are important in considering clinical implications, including barriers to therapeutic progress and problem-solving difficulties. The application of these findings to the current model of OGM are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available