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Specificity of autobiographical memories and basal cortisol levels in patients with major depression

, : Specificity of autobiographical memories and basal cortisol levels in patients with major depression. Psychoneuroendocrinology 30(4): 403-411

This study investigated whether over-general retrieval of autobiographical memories in depression is related to increased basal cortisol levels. Forty-seven individuals with a current diagnosis of major depression were given the autobiographical memory test, in which they were asked to produce specific autobiographical memories following positive, negative and neutral cue words. Salivary cortisol samples were taken at fixed time intervals during testing in the afternoon. Basal cortisol levels did not appear to be markedly elevated and were not significantly correlated with autobiographical memory performance. There were, however, strong negative correlations between memory specificity and decreases of cortisol levels over time of testing. Findings suggest that while specificity of autobiographical memory may be sensitive to cortisol changes, the occurrence of over-general memory in depression is not necessarily due to increased cortisol levels. Copyright 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


PMID: 15694120

DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2004.11.005

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