Sad reflections of happy times: depression vulnerability and experiences of sadness and happiness upon retrieval of positive autobiographical memories

Aleksandra E. Isham*, Lynn A. Watson, Barbara Dritschel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Instructed retrieval of positive autobiographical memories typically improves mood for healthy individuals, but not always for depressed individuals. No mood improvement may occur when depressed individuals retrieve positive memories that are self-incongruent, or when they ruminate upon positive memory retrieval. Mindfulness is associated with lower self-incongruency and rumination. The present study examined whether recurrent depression predicted emotional experience upon involuntary and voluntary retrieval of positive memories, and whether recurrent depression and trait mindfulness were associated with emotional experience upon positive memory retrieval through state rumination and self-incongruency. Recurrently and never-depressed individuals completed measures of depression, trait mindfulness, and a diary for reporting on everyday positive memories. Recurrently depressed individuals reported diminished happiness upon retrieving involuntary and voluntary positive memories compared to never-depressed individuals; and greater sadness upon involuntary positive memory retrieval, independent of current depression. Recurrent depression was associated with diminished happiness upon involuntary memory retrieval and greater sadness upon involuntary and voluntary positive memory retrieval, through state brooding, self-incongruency, or both. Higher trait mindfulness was associated with lower sadness upon involuntary and voluntary positive memory retrieval through state brooding and reflection. These findings highlight potential mechanisms in the relationship between depression vulnerability and emotional processing of positive autobiographical memories.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalMemory
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date9 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • State emotion regulation
  • Depression vulnerability
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Mindfulness
  • Naturalistic

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