Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 511–526 | Cite as

Overgeneral Autobiographical Memory as Depression Vulnerability

  • Bryce R. Gibbs
  • Stephanie S. Rude


Overgeneral autobiographical memory, the tendency to recall categories of events when asked to provide specific instances from one's life, has been shown to be characteristic of depressed, suicidal, and traumatized individuals. In the current study, overgeneral memory interacted with the occurrence of stressful life events to predict subsequent depression symptoms in a nonclinical sample of college students. Controlling for initial depression symptoms, students who showed both high overgeneral memory and high frequencies of stressful life events had more depression symptoms 4–6 weeks later. Overgeneral memory was correlated with an index of specificity culled from autobiographical essays but, contrary to expectation, was uncorrelated with self-report measures of thought suppression, dissociation, avoidance, or intrusion.

autobiographical memory overgeneral autobiographical memory depression depression vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryce R. Gibbs
    • 1
  • Stephanie S. Rude
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Texas at Austin
  2. 2.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Texas at Austin

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