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The Impact of Imprisonment on Overgeneral Autobiographical Memory in Former Political Prisoners

Authors

  • Birgit Kleim,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Birgit Kleim, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Zürich, Binzmühlestrasse 14, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland. E-mail: b.kleim@psychologie.uzh.ch

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  • James W. Griffith,

    1. Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA
    2. Centre for Learning and Experimental Psychopathology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
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  • Ira Gäbler,

    1. Department of Psychopathology and Clinical Intervention, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
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  • Matthias Schützwohl,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany
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  • Andreas Maercker

    1. Department of Psychopathology and Clinical Intervention, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
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  • We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation to Dr. Kleim (PZ00P1-126597) and the FWO to Dr. Griffith (GP.035.11N). We thank Anne Daues for her support with the AMT memory ratings, and James W. Griffith, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, and the Centre for Learning and Experimental Psychopathology, KU Leuven.

Abstract

Traumatic experiences may dramatically influence later behavior and cognitive processing. This study investigated how trauma shapes the way that we remember personal experiences. Specifically, we investigated overgeneral autobiographical memory, which is the tendency to remember autobiographical events in an overgeneral rather than specific way. We administered the Autobiographical Memory Test (Williams & Broadbent, 1986) to 86 survivors of political imprisonment 37 years after they had been released from imprisonment. Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder were not significantly related to overgeneral autobiographical memory. Significant overgeneral autobiographical memory correlates included embitterment, r = −.28, and being released to former East Germany, d = 0.67. Survivors with social support, r = .30 were better able to recall specific memories. Certain trauma characteristics and the way the trauma is processed may thus influence how personal memories are later remembered. This study also furthers the understanding of memory processes in political prisoners, who are not commonly studied in psychological research.

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS

標題:前政治犯中,囚禁對過度概化的自傳式記憶的影響

撮要:創傷經歷可能戲劇化地影響日後行為和認知處理。本研究探索創傷如何改變我們對個人體驗的記憶,特別是我們過度概化的自傳式記憶(即是對自傳式事件過度概括化而非特定形式去記憶)。樣本是已從監禁中釋放出來37年的86名政治犯,評核工具是自傳式記憶測試(Williams & Broadbent, 1986)。抑鬱症與創傷後壓力症與過度概化自傳式記憶未有顯著地相連。與過度概化自傳式記憶有顯著關聯者為:怨恨, r= -.28, 和在前東德釋放, d=0.67。有社交支援的生還者(r=.30)能更易記起某些獨特記憶。創傷的特徵及如何處理可能影響日後個人記憶如何記起。本研究有助瞭解政治犯的記憶處理過程,這是以往心理學研究不常觸及的。

标题:前政治犯中,囚禁对过度概化的自传式记忆的影响

撮要:创伤经历可能戏剧化地影响日后行为和认知处理。本研究探索创伤如何改变我们对个人体验的记忆,特别是我们过度概化的自传式记忆(即是对自传式事件过度概括化而非特定形式去记忆)。样本是已从监禁中释放出来37年的86名政治犯,评核工具是自传式记忆测试(Williams & Broadbent, 1986)。抑郁症与创伤后压力症与过度概化自传式记忆未有显著地相连。与过度概化自传式记忆有显著关联者为:怨恨, r= -.28, 和在前东德释放, d=0.67。有社交支援的生还者(r=.30)能更易记起某些独特记忆。创伤的特征及如何处理可能影响日后个人记忆如何记起。本研究有助了解政治犯的记忆处理过程,这是以往心理学研究不常触及的。

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