Impaired Autobiographical Memory Flexibility in Iranian Trauma Survivors With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Reduced ability to retrieve specific autobiographical memories is a well-defined feature of posttraumatic stress disorder  (PTSD), and science-driven interventions have emerged to improve memory specificity and thereby symptoms.  However, research in depressed samples indicates that the ability to flexibly move between retrieval of specific and  general memory types (i.e., memory flexibility) may more accurately conceptualize autobiographical memory deficits  in emotional disturbance. In this study, we evaluated memory specificity and memory flexibility in Iranian trauma  survivors (N = 63) with and without PTSD relative to community control participants. Trauma-exposed participants had  experienced a serious road-traffic accident. Results indicated that individuals with PTSD experienced reduced memory  specificity and memory flexibility relative to trauma-exposed participants and community control participants. A small  sample size limits the strength of conclusions, although good statistical power was obtained. Findings suggest that  reduced memory flexibility may be a transdiagnostic marker of emotional disturbance and support further development  of memory flexibility interventions for PTSD.


Authors: Maryam PiltanAli Reza MoradiMohammad Hassan Choobin, Parviz Azadfallah, Sara EskandariCaitlin Hitchcock