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Autobiographical memory as a latent vulnerability mechanism following childhood maltreatment: Association with future depression symptoms and prosocial behavior

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2020

Vanessa B. Puetz
Affiliation:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK The Anna Freud Centre, London, UK
Essi Viding
Affiliation:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK
Ferdinand Hoffmann
Affiliation:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK
Mattia I. Gerin
Affiliation:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK
Molly Sharp
Affiliation:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK
Georgia Rankin
Affiliation:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK
Eleanor A. Maguire
Affiliation:
Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK
Andrea Mechelli
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK
Eamon J. McCrory
Affiliation:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK The Anna Freud Centre, London, UK
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Objectives

Childhood maltreatment is associated with altered neural reactivity during autobiographical memory (ABM) recall and a pattern of overgeneral memory (OGM). Altered ABM and OGM have been linked with psychopathology and poorer social functioning. The present study investigated the association between altered ABM and subsequent socio-emotional functioning (measured two years later) in a sample of adolescents with (N = 20; maltreatment group, MT) and without (N = 17; non-MT group) documented childhood maltreatment histories.

Method

At baseline, adolescents (aged 12.6 ± 1.45 years) were administered the Autobiographical Memory Test to measure OGM. Participants also recalled specific ABMs in response to emotionally valenced cue words during functional MRI. Adolescents in both groups underwent assessments measuring depressive symptoms and prosocial behavior at both timepoints. Regression analyses were carried out to predict outcome measures at follow-up controlling for baseline levels.

Results

In the MT group, greater OGM at baseline significantly predicted reduced prosocial behavior at follow-up and showed a trend level association with elevated depressive symptoms. Patterns of altered ABM-related brain activity did not significantly predict future psycho-social functioning.

Conclusions

The current findings highlight the potential value of OGM as a cognitive mechanism that could be targeted to reduce risk of depression in adolescents with prior histories of maltreatment.

Type
Regular Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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