Overgeneral autobiographical memory and age of onset of childhood sexual abuse in patients with recurrent suicidal behaviour

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Objective.To explore the association between age of onset of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and overgeneral memory (OGM) in a clinical sample.Method.Presence and age of onset of CSA and levels of OGM were assessed in 49 patients attending hospital following a recurrence of suicidal behaviour.Results.Twenty six participants reported CSA. Earlier age of onset of CSA was associated with greater OGM, indexed by fewer specific and more categoric memories. The association was not accounted for either by elevated levels of depression in those reporting earlier abuse, nor by levels of general verbal fluency.Conclusions.The findings are consistent with previous work and support the hypothesis that abuse occurring earlier in development results in more pronounced OGM.

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