Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy reduces overgeneral autobiographical memory in formerly depressed patients.
Williams JM., Teasdale JD., Segal ZV., Soulsby J.
Previous research on depressed and suicidal patients and those with posttraumatic stress disorder has shown that patients' memory for the past is overgeneral (i.e., patients retrieve generic summaries of past events rather than specific events). This study investigated whether autobiographical memory could be affected by psychological treatment. Recovered depressed patients were randomly allocated to receive either treatment as usual or treatment designed to reduce risk of relapse. Whereas control patients showed no change in specificity of memories recalled in response to cue words, the treatment group showed a significantly reduced number of generic memories. Although such a memory deficit may arise from long-standing tendencies to encode and retrieve events generically, such a style is open to modification.