Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

Depression, But Not Dissociative Experiences, Predicts Overgeneral Memory: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression Analysis


Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States


Koç University, School of Medicine, İstanbul, Turkey


Institute for Graduate Studies in Social Sciences, Boğaziçi University, Cognitive Science MA Program, İstanbul, Turkey


Department of Psychiatry, Koç University, İstanbul, Turkey


Department of Psychology, Koç University, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, İstanbul, Turkey

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2022; 32: 237-249
DOI: 10.5152/pcp.2022.21285
Read: 788 Downloads: 351 Published: 01 September 2022

Background: Reduced memory specificity (i.e., overgeneral memory) is a characteristic of autobiographical memories widely studied in clinical populations, and it is explained by rumination, functional avoidance, and executive dysfunction. Though the relationship of autobiographical memory specificity with mood and anxiety disorders has been shown, how it relates to dissociation is not wellestablished. Thus, we aimed to investigate whether dissociative experiences are related to overgeneral memory while considering concurrent depression as a possible confounding factor.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review in compliance with The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and searched PubMed and Web of Science databases using autobiograph* and dissoc* as our keywords.

Results: Of the 768 studies identified, 9 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. A meta-regression analysis was conducted to analyze the relationship between dissociative experiences and depression scores with autobiographical memory test scores. Our research revealed that depression scores, but not dissociative experiences, are significantly related to reduced memory specificity.

Conclusion: While the possible overlap between dissociation and depression should be considered in the interpretation of the findings, dissociative experiences do not seem to pose vulnerability for reduced specificity of autobiographical memory. The number of studies on the topic is limited, and they do not have longitudinal follow-ups. The heterogeneous reporting of memory scores and low scores of dissociative experiences in the samples are also limitations of the existing studies.

Cite this article as: Okan A, Aydın F, Erkent MA, Sar V, Gülgöz S, Yapıcı Eser H. Depression, but not dissociative experiences, predicts overgeneral memory: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Psychiatry Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022;32(3):237-249.

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