Negative memory bias as a transdiagnostic cognitive marker for depression symptom severity
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Affective Disorders, 274, (2020), pp. 1165-1172
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Memory and Emotion
SW OZ BSI KLP
Journal of Affective Disorders
Subject130 000 Cognitive Neurology & Memory; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Background: Negative memory bias is a strong risk factor for the development and maintenance of depression. Recent evidence also found negative memory bias in other mental disorders. Here, we aim to: 1) assess the presence and strength of negative memory bias in a range of (comorbid) mental disorders, 2) investigate which disorder-specific symptoms are associated with negative memory bias, and 3) test whether negative memory bias might be a transdiagnostic mechanism. Methods: Negative memory bias was measured in patients with at least one diagnosis of a stress-related disorder (n = 86), a neurodevelopmental disorder (n = 53), or both (n = 68), and 51 controls. Depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder symptom severity was assessed using questionnaires. Groups were compared on negative memory bias and the associations between negative memory bias and symptom severity were made using linear regression models. Results: All patient groups showed stronger negative memory bias than the controls. Negative memory bias was individually associated with all symptom severity indices, but when added into a single model, only the association with depressive symptom severity remained. This persisted after controlling for diagnostic group. Limitations: Due to the cross-sectional sectional study design, we could only look at the associations between negative memory bias and disorder-specific symptoms and not at the direction of the effects. Conclusions: Negative memory bias is characteristic of a depressotypic processing style and present in different mental disorders. It might play a mechanistic role in the development of (subclinical) co-occurrence between mental disorders.
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