Autobiographical memory specificity and emotional abuse.
Raes F., Hermans D., Williams JM., Eelen P.
OBJECTIVE: Examined the relationship between trauma and memory specificity and the importance in this of level of support received. METHOD: Fifty-two female undergraduates completed the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT; Williams and Broadbent, 1986), assessing memory specificity and the Traumatic Experiences Checklist (TEC; Nijenhuis, Van der Hart, and Vanderlinden, 1999), assessing qualitative aspects of trauma. RESULTS: In low-specific students, those who reported emotional abuse were less specific in their memory. The scores of students who had not received any support for the abuse showed a trend towards retrieval of less specific memories, as compared with those who had received support. CONCLUSION: Results provide evidence for an association between trauma (emotional abuse) and reduced memory specificity, and suggest that receiving support following the abuse might protect individuals from developing over-general memory.