Overgeneral memory and suppression of trauma memories in post-traumatic stress disorder.
Schönfeld S., Ehlers A., Böllinghaus I., Rief W.
The study investigated the relationship between the suppression of trauma memories and overgeneral memory in 42 assault survivors with and without PTSD. Overgeneral memory (OGM) was assessed with a standard autobiographical memory test (AMT). Participants completed two further AMTs under the instructions to either suppress or not suppress assault memories, in counterbalanced order. Participants with PTSD retrieved fewer and more general memories when following the suppression instruction than participants without PTSD, but not under the control instruction. OGM correlated with PTSD symptom severity, and measures of cognitive avoidance. The results are discussed with reference to current theories of overgeneral memory and its possible relationship with PTSD.