The present study examines the longitudinal association between cortisol (dys)regulation – mean cortisol awakening response (CAR) and area under the curve with respect to ground (AUCg) for total daily cortisol – and autobiographical memory. 135 participants (mean age at baseline = 16.1; Females = 78.5 %) provided cortisol samples (T1). Seven months later participants retrieved autobiographical memories cued by positive and negative words (T2). Four years subsequently, participants provided cortisol samples again (T3). The retrieval of more specific memories cued by positive words, but not negative words, was associated with higher AUCg four years later, independent of sex, recent life stressors and self-reported negative self-related cognitions. There were no associations between CAR and autobiographical memory. Neither AUC nor CAR at T1 predicted subsequent autobiographical memory abilities. People who retrieve more positive specific memories may be more likely to imagine and seek out positive experiences and this may be associated with higher cortisol levels.
- HPA axis
- Life events
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology