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Autobiographical memory distributions for negative self-images: memories are organised around negative as well as positive aspects of identity

Rathbone, C. J. and Steel, C. (2015) Autobiographical memory distributions for negative self-images: memories are organised around negative as well as positive aspects of identity. Memory, 23 (4). pp. 473-486. ISSN 0965-8211

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2014.906621

Abstract/Summary

The relationship between developmental experiences, and an individual’s emerging beliefs about themselves and the world, is central to many forms of psychotherapy. People suffering from a variety of mental health problems have been shown to use negative memories when defining the self, however little is known about how these negative memories might be organised and relate to negative self-images. In two online studies with middle-aged (N = 18; Study 1) and young (N = 56; Study 2) adults, we found that participants’ negative self-images (e.g., I am a failure) were associated with sets of autobiographical memories that formed clustered distributions around times of self-formation, in much the same pattern as for positive self-images (e.g., I am talented). This novel result shows that highly organised sets of salient memories may be responsible for perpetuating negative beliefs about the self. Implications for therapy are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:36350
Publisher:Routledge

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