Episodic Memories in Anxiety Disorders: Clinical Implications
This study examined the retrieval of autobiographical memories when prompted by automatic thoughts that were representative of maladaptive schema content specific to 2 anxiety disorders. Participants with panic disorder (n = 20), those with social phobia (n = 22) and non-anxious participants (n = 20) indicated the first specific memory that came to mind when cued with panic-related, social phobia-related and control automatic thoughts. Panic participants retrieved memories cued with panic disorder-related automatic thoughts more quickly than social phobic and non-anxious participants, and social phobic participants retrieved memories cued with social phobia-related automatic thoughts more quickly than non-anxious participants. Relative to non-anxious participants, participants in both patient groups retrieved more anxious/worried memories when cued with automatic thoughts related to their diagnosis and more fearful memories when cued with either type of diagnosis-related automatic thought. Results indicate that panic and social phobic participants were characterized by general threat-relevant autobiographical memory biases.