Autobiographical memory for stressful events: the role of autobiographical memory in posttraumatic stress disorder.

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2011-09

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Abstract

To provide the three-way comparisons needed to test existing theories, we compared (1) most-stressful memories to other memories and (2) involuntary to voluntary memories (3) in 75 community dwelling adults with and 42 without a current diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Each rated their three most-stressful, three most-positive, seven most-important and 15 word-cued autobiographical memories, and completed tests of personality and mood. Involuntary memories were then recorded and rated as they occurred for 2 weeks. Standard mechanisms of cognition and affect applied to extreme events accounted for the properties of stressful memories. Involuntary memories had greater emotional intensity than voluntary memories, but were not more frequently related to traumatic events. The emotional intensity, rehearsal, and centrality to the life story of both voluntary and involuntary memories, rather than incoherence of voluntary traumatic memories and enhanced availability of involuntary traumatic memories, were the properties of autobiographical memories associated with PTSD.

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Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1016/j.concog.2011.03.015

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Rubin, David C, Michelle F Dennis and Jean C Beckham (2011). Autobiographical memory for stressful events: the role of autobiographical memory in posttraumatic stress disorder. Conscious Cogn, 20(3). pp. 840–856. 10.1016/j.concog.2011.03.015 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9774.

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Rubin

David C. Rubin

Juanita M. Kreps Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory and oral traditions, as well as prose. I have also studied memory as it is more commonly done in experimental psychology laboratories using lists. In addition to this purely behavioral research, which I plan to continue, I work on memory in clinical populations with the aid of a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study PTSD and on the underlying neural basis of memory the aid of a National Institute of Aging grant to study autobiographical memory using fMRI.





Beckham

Jean Crowell Beckham

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Interest in assessment and treatment of trauma, particularly as occurs for both women and men during military service; focus in treatment outcome of differential and collective contribution for psychopharmacological and behavioral interventions in PTSD populations; long term physical health effects of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder.


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