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ERIC Number: EJ1008490
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0033-2933
Reduction in Memory Specificity Following an Approach/Avoidance Scrambled Sentences Task Relates to Cognitive Avoidant Coping
Debeer, Elise; Raes, Filip; Williams, J. Mark G.; Hermans, Dirk
Psychological Record, v63 n1 p73-84 Win 2013
"Overgeneral autobiographical memory" (OGM) refers to the tendency to retrieve less specific personal memories. According to the functional avoidance hypothesis, OGM might act as a cognitive strategy to avoid emotionally distressing details of negative memories. In the present study, we investigated the effect of an experimentally induced avoidant state on memory specificity. We primed an avoidant state in half of the participants and an approaching state in the other half by means of a Scrambled Sentences Task (SST). Memory specificity was measured before and after priming. Trait cognitive avoidant coping was assessed prior to the experiment. Analyses indicated that higher trait avoidance was significantly associated with lower memory specificity after the SST and stronger reductions in memory specificity from pre- to post-SST, irrespective of the priming condition. The latter suggests that the SST triggered high avoiders' avoidance schema in both conditions, possibly because it was experienced as a stressor. (Contains 3 tables and 4 footnotes.)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Mailcode 4609, Rehabilitation Institute, Carbondale, IL 62901-4609. Tel: 618-536-7704; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A