Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.706881
Title: Overgeneral autobiographical memory and depression
Author: Boardman, K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 5157
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
Overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM), a term used interchangeably with reduced autobiographical memory specificity (AMS), refers to the finding that certain groups of people are more overgeneral (and less specific) in their retrieval of autobiographical memories than others (Williams et al., 2007; Williams & Broadbent, 1986). In particular, those with (or at high risk of) depression are thought to be more overgeneral compared to those who have never been depressed. This phenomenon has attracted much attention in the literature specifically since OGM status has been shown to predict the onset and course of depression (Mackinger, Pachinger, Leibetseder, & Fartacek, 2000), highlighting it as a marker of vulnerability rather than a mere symptom of depression itself (Brittlebank et al., 1993; Raes et al., 2006). Over recent years there has been increased interest from those exploring the potential clinical benefits to manipulating OGM with researchers evaluating the extent to which new and existing treatment interventions can be used to improve memory specificity and what (if any) effect this has on depression (Raes, Williams, & Hermans, 2009; Watkins, 2015, Watkins, 2013). Chapter one of this thesis provides a review of the literature exploring a) the extent to which OGM/AMS can be modified and b) the effect this has on current depression in adults. The review discusses results from a range of interventions used to improve AMS across a variety of clinical and non-clinical depressed samples, including memory specificity training programmes, life review therapy, concreteness training and interventions based on cognitive behavioural principles. Although the majority of studies provide some support for the efficacy of memory interventions in the treatment of depression, it is unclear where the active component of therapeutic change lies since several of the studies using a control group reported similar improvements across both treatment and control conditions. Despite this emergence of studies exploring the clinical implications of OGM, the cognitive mechanisms underlying the phenomenon are still unclear (Sumner, 2012). Better understanding of the construct would certainly help in the development of treatment interventions designed to improve AMS. One model currently dominating the field suggests that OGM is underpinned by three components, namely: (1) Capture and Rumination (CaR), (2) Functional avoidance (FA) and (3) Executive control (X), i.e. the CaRFa-X model (Williams et al., 2007; Williams, 2006). This model has only been tested once in its entirety and the study yielded some inconsistent findings which the authors postulated may have been due to methodological issues (Sumner et al., 2014). Chapter 2 of this thesis describes an empirical study designed to build on the work of Sumner et al. (2014) by addressing the methodological limitations of the study, providing a rigorous test of the CaR-FA-X model in a non-clinical population.
Supervisor: Eames, C. ; O'Carroll, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.706881  DOI:
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