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The ability to retrieve specific, single-incident autobiographical memories has been consistently posited as a predictor of recurrent depression. Elucidating the role of autobiographical memory specificity in patient-response to depressive treatments may improve treatment efficacy and facilitate use of science-driven interventions. We used recent methodological advances in individual patient data meta-analysis to determine a) whether memory specificity is improved following mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), relative to control interventions, and b) whether pre-treatment memory specificity moderates treatment response. All bar one study evaluated MBCT for relapse prevention for depression. Our initial analysis therefore focussed on MBCT datasets only(n = 708), then were repeated including the additional dataset(n = 880). Memory specificity did not significantly differ from baseline to post-treatment for either MBCT and Control interventions. There was no evidence that baseline memory specificity predicted treatment response in terms of symptom-levels, or risk of relapse. Findings raise important questions regarding the role of memory specificity in depressive treatments.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





Autobiographical memory, Cogntive therapy, Individual patient data meta-analysis, Mindfulness, Treatment response, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Depressive Disorder, Major, Humans, Memory, Episodic, Mindfulness, Treatment Outcome