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   2012, Vol. 44 Issue (1) : 112-120     DOI:
Reduced Specificity of Autobiographical Memory in Traumatized Adolescents: Exploring the Contributions of Impaired Executive Control and Affect Regulation
CHEN Xue-Jun;HUANG Yue-Sheng;DANG Xiao-Jiao;ZHENG Xi-Fu
(Department of Psychology, South China Normal University, Gguangzhou 510631, China)
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Abstract  Reduced specificity of autobiographical memories retrieved to word cues on the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) associated with increased posttraumatic stress in traumatized samples has been already confirmed, though the researches for the adolescents are still not very substantial. Theoretical debates concerning the dominant influences on this effect have focused on affect regulation, whereby specific personal information is avoided more by those experiencing greater distress, versus impaired executive control, whereby increased distress is associated with an inability to set aside inappropriately general responses on the AMT.
The present study compared these 2 views using AMT and AMT-R (the reversed version of the AMT) together. All the participants were recruited from a nonclinical and normal middle school. Participants (divided into three groups: high-PTSD, n = 31, low-PTSD, n = 32, and nontraumatic controls, n = 30)were required to generate specific memories response to emotion-related cue words in the AMT, whereas had to generate general memories from the past in the AMT-R. An emphasis on the role of affect regulation would predict that distress would be associated with reduced specificity (as in the standard AMT), whereas emphasis on the role of executive control would predict that this relationship should be reversed.
The results indicated that, in contrast with the earlier studies, high-PTSD and low-PTSD groups behaved less specificity than nontraumatic controls and high-PTSD group also had generated less specific memories than low-PTSD group, regardless of cue valence in the AMT. But there were no significant differences of specific memories among the three groups in the AMT-R.
The findings suggested that reduced autobiographical memory specificity has been demonstrated in traumatized adolescents in this study, and the results of AMT and AMT-R supported the affect regulation may play a greater role. Moreover, the clinical implications of the current research are discussed.
Keywords trauma      autobiographical memory      specificity      affect regulation      executive control     
Corresponding Authors: ZHENG Xi-Fu   
Issue Date: 28 January 2012
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CHEN Xue-Jun
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CHEN Xue-Jun,HUANG Yue-Sheng,DANG Xiao-Jiao, et al. Reduced Specificity of Autobiographical Memory in Traumatized Adolescents: Exploring the Contributions of Impaired Executive Control and Affect Regulation[J]. , 2012, 44(1): 112-120.
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