Identifying the most effective strategies for improving autobiographical memory specificity and its implications for mental health problems: a meta-analysis

Article


Ahmadi Forooshani, Sayedhabibollah, Murray, Kate, Izadikhah, Zahra and Khawja, Nigar. 2020. "Identifying the most effective strategies for improving autobiographical memory specificity and its implications for mental health problems: a meta-analysis." Cognitive Therapy and Research. 44 (2), pp. 258-274. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-019-10061-8
Article Title

Identifying the most effective strategies for improving autobiographical memory specificity and its implications for mental health problems: a meta-analysis

ERA Journal ID6196
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsAhmadi Forooshani, Sayedhabibollah (Author), Murray, Kate (Author), Izadikhah, Zahra (Author) and Khawja, Nigar (Author)
Journal TitleCognitive Therapy and Research
Journal Citation44 (2), pp. 258-274
Number of Pages17
Year2020
PublisherSpringer
Place of PublicationNew York, United States
ISSN0147-5916
1573-2819
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-019-10061-8
Web Address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10608-019-10061-8
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the efficacy of psychological interventions, used to enhance autobiographical memory specificity, on their therapeutic targets. A systematic search identified 22 studies with 27 therapeutic effect sizes meeting the criteria for inclusion. The results showed that the aggregated effect size for all included interventions was computed as g = 1.08, p < 0.001, 95% CI [0.72, 1.44] for post-test assessments of autobiographical memory specificity, and g = 0.78, p < 0.001, 95% CI [0.44, 1.13] for the follow-up assessments. No significant moderating effects were found for number of sessions and age in post-test and follow-up assessments. However, the duration of follow-up assessments significantly moderated the effects of the interventions on autobiographical memory specificity (b = − .17, p = 0.01). Medium to large aggregated effect sizes were computed for improving depressive symptoms (g = 0.34, p < 0.01), life satisfaction (g = 0.80, p < 0.05), and executive function (g = 1.03, p < 0.01) for post-test assessments. At follow-up, no significant effects were found for the included mental health outcomes. Based on the results, Memory Specificity Training can be suggested as the most effective short-term intervention for improving the specificity of autobiographical memory. However, the results of this meta-analysis challenge the recommendation of using autobiographical memory-based interventions as standalone therapies to improve mental health problems. Moreover, the lack of a sufficient number of high quality RCT studies is a major gap in this research field. The implications for future studies are discussed.

Keywordsautobiographical memory specificity, meta-analysis, mental health, psychological intervention
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020529999. Other psychology not elsewhere classified
520401. Cognition
520399. Clinical and health psychology not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsQueensland University of Technology
School of Psychology and Counselling
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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