Background: This investigation addresses whether there are differences in the form and content of autobiographical memory recall as a function of maltreatment, and examines the roles of self-system functioning and psychopathology in autobiographical memory processes.
Methods: Autobiographical memory for positive and negative nontraumatic events was evaluated among abused, neglected, and nonmaltreated school-aged children.
Results: Abused children’s memories were more overgeneral and contained more negative self-representations than did those of the nonmaltreated children. Negative self-representations and depression were significantly related to overgeneral memory, but did not mediate the relation between abuse and overgeneral memory.
Conclusions: The meaning of these findings for models of memory and for the development of overgenerality is emphasized. Moreover, the clinical implications of the current research are discussed.