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TitleAutobiographical memories in major depressive disorder
Author(s)Claúdio, Victor
Aurélio, João Garcez
Machado, Paulo P. P.
KeywordsAutobiographical Memories
Issue dateSep-2012
JournalClinical Psychology & Psychotherapy
Abstract(s)The objective of this research was to study the relation between the processing and recall of information in major depressive disorder. An autobiographical memory task was applied to 42 subjects with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, 28 subjects with a diagnosis of panic disorder and 51 subjects without any psychological disorder. We used clinical scales for the evaluation of depression and anxiety. The results of the three groups, and both assessment periods of depressed subjects, were compared. The results indicate the existence, in severely depressed subjects, of a bias in processing and recalling negative information. We associate this situation to the existence of negative contents in self-schemas and processing and recall of information consistent with these schema contents. Based on the obtained results, we consider that the onset and maintenance of depression is more related to the information encoding and recall processes, controlled by the self's negative schemas, than with negative thoughts. Copyright (C) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Key Practitioner Message The fact that depressed individuals predominantly recall categorical memories should alert therapists to their presence and the difficulties associated with eliciting specific memories. The importance of insisting upon a greater memory specificity as a means to interrupt the depressive bias and the importance of categorical memories as a possible diagnostic tool of severity of depression should be taken into consideration. A greater focus upon positive memories should be beneficial in therapy. An evaluation of the recall characteristics of autobiographical memories in depressed and panic patients allows for their use in the therapeutic process, in terms of the activation of such memories and the associations that can be fostered by the therapist. The relation between early maladaptive schemas and autobiographical memories allows for a clarification of such schemas in therapy by means of the autobiographical memories recalled. In a therapeut
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