Emotional intensity of idiographic sad memories in depression predicts symptom levels 1 year later

Jonathan Rottenberg, Jutta Joormann, Faith Brozovich, Ian H. Gotlib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

When cued with generic happy and sad words, depressed individuals have been found to articulate contextually impoverished memories of autobiographical events. Although this pattern predicts a worse symptomatic course of disorder in some depressed samples, longitudinal findings with the cue-word paradigm are inconsistent. To address the etiological significance of autobiographical memories outside the cue-word paradigm, the authors used an idiographic interview in which depressed participants generated memories of their happiest and saddest lifetime events. Each memory was coded for detail and emotional intensity. At a 1-year follow-up, participants' levels of depressive symptoms were reassessed. Lower emotional intensity of saddest memories predicted higher levels of depressive symptoms at follow-up. Several implications for understanding sadness and emotional disclosure in depression are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-242
Number of pages5
JournalEmotion
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2005

Keywords

  • Autobiographical memories
  • Depression
  • Disclosure
  • Emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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