Psychopathology Symptoms, Rumination and Autobiographical Memory Specificity: Do Associations Hold After Bereavement?

Maarten C. Eisma*, Henk A W Schut, Margaret S. Stroebe, Kim Voerman, Jan van den Bout, Wolfgang Stroebe, Paul A. Boelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: Symptoms of psychopathology are associated with overgeneral memory retrieval. Overgeneral memory is hypothesized to be the result of an emotion regulatory process, dampening emotional reactions associated with retrieval of distressing specific memories. However, higher post-loss symptom severity has been related to higher specificity of loss-related memories recalled on the Autobiographical Memory Test. This may imply that such memories are 'immune' to the reduced specificity effect. We aimed to test this idea by investigating, for the first time, associations of depressive and complicated grief symptoms and depressive and grief rumination with autobiographical memory specificity on a sentence-completion task (SCEPT) in a bereaved sample. One hundred ninety-one adult mourners (89% women) filled out questionnaires and the SCEPT. A main finding was that higher depressive and complicated grief symptom and grief rumination levels were associated with reduced specificity of non-loss-related memories but not with specificity of loss-related memories. Implications of these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-484
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date13 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015

Bibliographical note

Funded by Dutch Association for Scientific Research (NWO). Grant Number: 91208009


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