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Autobiographical memory: A candidate latent vulnerability mechanism for psychiatric disorder following childhood maltreatment

  • Eamon J. McCrory (a1), Vanessa B. Puetz (a1), Eleanor A. Maguire (a2), Andrea Mechelli (a3), Amy Palmer (a1), Mattia I. Gerin (a1), Philip A. Kelly (a1), Iakovina Koutoufa (a1) and Essi Viding (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Altered autobiographical memory (ABM) functioning has been implicated in the pathogenesis of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder and may represent one mechanism by which childhood maltreatment elevates psychiatric risk.

Aims

To investigate the impact of childhood maltreatment on ABM functioning.

Method

Thirty-four children with documented maltreatment and 33 matched controls recalled specific ABMs in response to emotionally valenced cue words during functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Results

Children with maltreatment experience showed reduced hippocampal and increased middle temporal and parahippocampal activation during positive ABM recall compared with peers. During negative ABM recall they exhibited increased amygdala activation, and greater amygdala connectivity with the salience network.

Conclusions

Childhood maltreatment is associated with altered ABM functioning, specifically reduced activation in areas encoding specification of positive memories, and greater activation of the salience network for negative memories. This pattern may confer latent vulnerability to future depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Copyright
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.
Corresponding author
Eamon J. McCrory, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1 6BT, UK. Email: e.mccrory@ucl.ac.uk
Footnotes
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This work was funded by a grant to E.J.M. from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K005723/1). E.A.M. is supported by a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship (101759/Z/713/Z).

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Autobiographical memory: A candidate latent vulnerability mechanism for psychiatric disorder following childhood maltreatment

  • Eamon J. McCrory (a1), Vanessa B. Puetz (a1), Eleanor A. Maguire (a2), Andrea Mechelli (a3), Amy Palmer (a1), Mattia I. Gerin (a1), Philip A. Kelly (a1), Iakovina Koutoufa (a1) and Essi Viding (a4)...
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