Examining the long-term stability of overgeneral autobiographical memory

Jennifer A. Sumner, Susan Mineka, Richard E. Zinbarg, Michelle G. Craske, Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn, Alyssa Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) is a proposed trait-marker for vulnerability to depression, but relatively little work has examined its long-term stability. This study investigated the stability of OGM over several years in 271 late adolescents and young adults participating in a larger longitudinal study of risk for emotional disorders. The Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) was administered twice, with test-retest intervals ranging from approximately 3 to 6 years. There was evidence of significant but modest stability in OGM over several years. Specifically, Spearman rank correlations (ρs) between the proportions of specific and categoric memories generated on the two AMTs were.31 and.32, respectively. We did not find evidence that the stability of OGM was moderated by the length of the test-retest interval. Furthermore, the stability coefficients for OGM for individuals with and without a lifetime history of major depressive disorder (MDD) were relatively similar in magnitude and not significantly different from one another (ρs=.34 and.42 for the proportions of specific and categoric memories for those with a history of MDD; ρs=.31 for both the proportions of specific and categoric memories for those without a history of MDD). Implications for the conceptualisation of OGM are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalMemory
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

Keywords

  • Autobiographical memory specificity
  • Depression
  • Long-term stability
  • Overgeneral autobiographical memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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