The Effects of Suppressing a Negative Autobiographical Memory on Concurrent Intrusions and Subsequent Autobiographical Recall in Dysphoria

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Depressed individuals endeavor to suppress intrusive thoughts and memories as a form of mood control. Two predictions from this literature were examined. The 1st was that attempts to suppress a preselected negative memory during a stream-of-consciousness (SOC) task in dysphoric individuals, relative to a no-suppress condition, would lead to relatively speeded access to other negative but not positive memories on a subsequent cue-word recall task. No such effects were predicted for nondysphoric controls. The 2nd prediction was that, across all participants who were asked to suppress memories, higher levels of depressed mood would be associated with more intrusions of the to-be-suppressed memory during the SOC and that this association would be stronger than the comparable relation in participants who were not asked to suppress memories. Results support both predictions.

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