ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 3, Issue 2, 168-177, 2012
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A Comparison of Retrieval Vantage Perspective of Positive and Negative Intrusive Memories

Michelle L. Moulds (a), Alishia D. Williams (b), Jessica R. Grisham (a), & Angela Nickerson (a)
(a) The University of New South Wales, Sydney
(b) Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression, St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney

Volume 3, Issue 2, 2012, Pages 168-177

Recalling distressing memories from a third-person, observer vantage perspective has been conceptualized as a form of avoidance of memory-related affect (McIsaac & Eich, 2004). The possibility that observer recall of positive events might similarly be linked to avoidance has not been explored. A mixed sample of undergraduate students and community members described a positive and negative intrusive memory and responded to items about features of each memory. Experiential avoidance was associated with a tendency to recall positive intrusive memories from an observer perspective, and this association approached significance for negative intrusive memories. For negative intrusions, field perspective recall was associated with greater memory-related distress. The opposite was true for positive intrusions: observer recall was linked to more distress. We also observed expected mood-congruent relationships: depression was associated with the frequency of negative but not positive intrusive memories, and there was a trend towards a relationship between depression and decreased vividness of positive memories. Finally, dysphoric participants reported less of a sense of reliving their positive intrusions than did their non-dysphoric counterparts. We speculate about the reasons for the direction of these effects and discuss the potential utility of therapeutic techniques that encourage patients to remember positive events from a field perspective.

Table of Contents
  Impact of Event Scale (IES; Horowitz, Wilner, & Alvarez, 1979).
  Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (AAQ; Hayes et al., 2004).
  Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995).

Correspondence to
Michelle L. Moulds, School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA.

intrusive memories, vantage perspective, avoidance

Received 1 Mar 2011; Revised 26 Oct 2011; Accepted 26 Oct 2011; In Press 23 Apr 2012

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