Overgeneral autobiographical memory recollection in Iranian combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Abstract

This study examined the recollection of autobiographical material in memory among Iranian military veterans with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and healthy non-trauma-exposed control subjects. Participants completed the Autobiographical Memory Test, Autobiographical Memory Interview (counterbalanced), Impact of Event Scale-Revised, Beck Depression Inventory-II, Wechsler Memory Scale-III and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised. The PTSD group generated fewer specific episodic and semantic details of autobiographical memory compared to the non-PTSD and control groups. Working memory did not significantly moderate the relationship between PTSD diagnosis and reduced autobiographical memory specificity but did moderate the relationship between PTSD diagnosis and semantic recall; semantic memory recall was not significantly related to working memory ability for those with PTSD but was related to working memory ability for trauma survivors without PTSD. While the data provide some support for the expectation that higher working memory ability is associated with an increased ability to retrieve specific memories (i.e. semantic memory recall in those without PTSD), the findings are also consistent with the view that for those with PTSD the demands on working memory required for affect regulation cancel out this influence of working memory in augmenting access to specific memories.

DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.03.009