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Overgeneral memory in asylum seekers and refugees.
J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2014 Sep; 45(3):375-80.JB

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES

Studies in western samples have shown that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are associated with overgeneral autobiographical memory retrieval. This study assesses whether this association extends to asylum seekers and refugees from diverse cultural backgrounds. We discuss implications for those providing testimony of their experiences when seeking asylum.

METHOD

38 asylum seekers and refugees were recruited through clinics and community groups. Clinical interviews assessed PTSD and depression and participants completed a test of autobiographical memory specificity.

RESULTS

When accounting for omissions, participants with PTSD and depression recalled a lower proportion of specific memories. Those with PTSD also failed more frequently to report any memory.

LIMITATIONS

The sample did not permit separate evaluation of the effects of PTSD and depression on specificity.

CONCLUSIONS

Lower memory specificity observed in people experiencing PTSD and depression in western populations extends to asylum seekers and refugees from diverse cultural backgrounds. This study adds to the literature suggesting that being recognised as a refugee fleeing persecution is more difficult for those with post-traumatic symptoms and depression.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB, UK. Electronic address: bgraham2@uw.edu.Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law, 1 Quality Court, Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1HR, UK. Electronic address: j.herlihy@csel.org.uk.Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB, UK. Electronic address: c.brewin@ucl.ac.uk.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

24799151

Citation

Graham, Belinda, et al. "Overgeneral Memory in Asylum Seekers and Refugees." Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, vol. 45, no. 3, 2014, pp. 375-80.
Graham B, Herlihy J, Brewin CR. Overgeneral memory in asylum seekers and refugees. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2014;45(3):375-80.
Graham, B., Herlihy, J., & Brewin, C. R. (2014). Overgeneral memory in asylum seekers and refugees. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 45(3), 375-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.03.001
Graham B, Herlihy J, Brewin CR. Overgeneral Memory in Asylum Seekers and Refugees. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2014;45(3):375-80. PubMed PMID: 24799151.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Overgeneral memory in asylum seekers and refugees. AU - Graham,Belinda, AU - Herlihy,Jane, AU - Brewin,Chris R, Y1 - 2014/04/12/ PY - 2013/02/08/received PY - 2014/03/06/revised PY - 2014/03/17/accepted PY - 2014/5/7/entrez PY - 2014/5/7/pubmed PY - 2015/1/30/medline KW - Depression KW - Overgeneral autobiographical memory KW - PTSD KW - Refugees SP - 375 EP - 80 JF - Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry JO - J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry VL - 45 IS - 3 N2 - BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Studies in western samples have shown that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are associated with overgeneral autobiographical memory retrieval. This study assesses whether this association extends to asylum seekers and refugees from diverse cultural backgrounds. We discuss implications for those providing testimony of their experiences when seeking asylum. METHOD: 38 asylum seekers and refugees were recruited through clinics and community groups. Clinical interviews assessed PTSD and depression and participants completed a test of autobiographical memory specificity. RESULTS: When accounting for omissions, participants with PTSD and depression recalled a lower proportion of specific memories. Those with PTSD also failed more frequently to report any memory. LIMITATIONS: The sample did not permit separate evaluation of the effects of PTSD and depression on specificity. CONCLUSIONS: Lower memory specificity observed in people experiencing PTSD and depression in western populations extends to asylum seekers and refugees from diverse cultural backgrounds. This study adds to the literature suggesting that being recognised as a refugee fleeing persecution is more difficult for those with post-traumatic symptoms and depression. SN - 1873-7943 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24799151/Overgeneral_memory_in_asylum_seekers_and_refugees_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0005-7916(14)00021-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -