Are Trauma Memories Disjointed from other Autobiographical Memories in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder? An Experimental Investigation.
Kleim B., Wallott F., Ehlers A.
This study tested the hypothesis that trauma memories are disjointed from other autobiographical material in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Assault survivors with (n = 25) and without PTSD (n = 49) completed an autobiographical memory retrieval task during script-driven imagery of (a) the assault and (b) an unrelated negative event. When listening to a taped imagery script of the worst moment of their assault, survivors with PTSD took longer to retrieve unrelated non-traumatic autobiographical information than those without PTSD, but not when listening to a taped script of the worst moment of another negative life event. The groups also did not differ in general retrieval latencies, neither at baseline nor after the imagery tasks. The findings are in line with suggestions that traumatic memories are less integrated with other autobiographical information in trauma survivors with PTSD than in those without PTSD.