Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Depressed individuals have difficulty remembering specific autobiographical events. These deficits often persist after recovery of mood symptoms, but the mechanisms underlying impaired memory specificity in recovered depressed individuals remain unclear. Here, we sought to examine whether performance on two cognitive measures might be related to deficits in autobiographical memory retrieval in individuals with a history of depression. METHODS: Twenty-four recovered depressed women (12 with more than one previous episode) and 24 never depressed women completed two cognitive measures (Digit Span and a Number Generation Task) and tests of autobiographical memory recall. RESULTS: Overall, the recovered depressed women did not show deficits in autobiographical retrieval. However, those with more than one previous episode had impaired retrieval of categorical autobiographical memories. Moreover, depression history moderated the relationship between Digit Span and retrieval of categoric autobiographical memories such that within the whole recovered depressed group (but not the never depressed group), those with lower Digit Span also had poorer retrieval of categorical autobiographical memories. LIMITATIONS: Our sample size was small and included only women. Moreover, order effects may have been a significant factor. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the notion that working memory is an important factor in impairing autobiographical memory in those who have recovered from depression, but suggest a complex relationship with autobiographical recall.

Original publication




Journal article


J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry

Publication Date





260 - 266


Autobiographical memory, Depression, Executive dysfunction, Female, Recovered depressed, Adult, Cognition Disorders, Depression, Executive Function, Female, Humans, Memory Disorders, Memory, Episodic, Mental Recall, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Recovery of Function, Young Adult