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OBJECTIVE: Previous studies suggest that reduced autobiographical memory specificity might serve as a way of regulating affect. This study examined the relationship between autobiographical memory specificity and avoidant coping. METHOD: Sixty students completed the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT). Different types of avoidant coping were assessed using questionnaires: the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, the Cognitive-Behavioural Avoidance Scale and the White Bear Suppression Inventory. RESULTS: For all questionnaires, a significant correlation was observed between the number of specific responses on the AMT and an avoidant coping style. More avoidance was associated with fewer specific answers. These correlations remained when corrected for number of omissions. CONCLUSION: The results provide further evidence for the affect-regulating quality of autobiographical memory specificity.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Clin Psychol

Publication Date





583 - 589


Adaptation, Psychological, Adolescent, Autobiography as Topic, Female, Humans, Male, Memory Disorders, Personality Disorders, Severity of Illness Index, Surveys and Questionnaires