Depressive symptoms moderate the effects of a self-discrepancy induction on overgeneral autobiographical memory

Jorien Smets*, James W Griffith, Ineke Wessel, Dominique Walschaerts, Filip Raes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


According to the CaRFAX model, rumination is one of the key underlying mechanisms of overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM). The association between rumination and OGM is well established in clinical populations, but this relationship is not robust in nonclinical samples. A series of null findings is reported in the current paper. Additionally we followed up on recent findings suggesting that a state of rumination needs to be active in order to detect a relationship between trait-rumination and OGM. Secondary school students (N= 123) completed questionnaires assessing trait-rumination and depressive symptoms as well as two autobiographical memory tests (AMTs), one before and one after a self-discrepancy induction. This induction should trigger state-rumination, which would subsequently promote the retrieval of general rather than specific memories. Trait-rumination failed to predict increases in OGM. We did find, however, that higher BDI-II scores were positively related to an increase in OGM following the induction. This adds to the growing body of evidence that OGM reactivity might be more important than baseline memory specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-761
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Autobiographical memory
  • Depression
  • Overgeneral autobiographical memory
  • Rumination
  • Self-discrepancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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