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Reduced Specificity in Episodic Future Thinking in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


Kleim, Birgit; Graham, Belinda; Fihosy, Sonia; Stott, Richard; Ehlers, Anke (2014). Reduced Specificity in Episodic Future Thinking in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Clinical Psychological Science, 2(2):165-173.

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), one of the most common disorders following trauma, has been associated with a tendency to remember past personal memories in a nonspecific, overgeneral way. The present study investigated whether such a bias also applies to projections of future personal events. Trauma survivors (N = 50) generated brief descriptions of imagined future experiences in response to positive and negative cues in a future-based Autobiographical Memory Test. Survivors with PTSD imagined fewer specific future events in response to positive, but not to negative, cues, compared to those without PTSD. This effect was independent of comorbid major depression. Reduced memory specificity in response to positive cues was related to appraisals of foreshortened future and permanent change. Training to enhance specificity of future projections may be helpful in PTSD and protect against potentially toxic effects of autobiographical memory overgenerality.

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), one of the most common disorders following trauma, has been associated with a tendency to remember past personal memories in a nonspecific, overgeneral way. The present study investigated whether such a bias also applies to projections of future personal events. Trauma survivors (N = 50) generated brief descriptions of imagined future experiences in response to positive and negative cues in a future-based Autobiographical Memory Test. Survivors with PTSD imagined fewer specific future events in response to positive, but not to negative, cues, compared to those without PTSD. This effect was independent of comorbid major depression. Reduced memory specificity in response to positive cues was related to appraisals of foreshortened future and permanent change. Training to enhance specificity of future projections may be helpful in PTSD and protect against potentially toxic effects of autobiographical memory overgenerality.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Clinical Psychology
Language:English
Date:March 2014
Deposited On:07 Nov 2019 12:57
Last Modified:25 Mar 2020 22:57
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:2167-7026
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702613495199
PubMed ID:24926418

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