Do positive memory characteristics relate to reckless behaviours? an exploratory study in a treatment-seeking traumatised sample

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Reckless and self-destructive behaviours (RSDBs), common among traumatised individuals, are associated with negative health consequences. Gaining a stronger understanding of factors associated with an increased likelihood of RSDBs among traumatised individuals offers potential new avenues for research and treatment. Mounting evidence indicates relations between traumatic experiences and deficits/disturbances in characteristics of positive memories; however, relations between RSDBs and positive memory characteristics has been understudied. Using hierarchical multiple regression, we examined relations between positive memory characteristics (Memory Experiences Questionnaire-Short Form; MEQ-SF) and RSDBs, controlling for PTSD and depression severity, among a sample of treatment-seeking trauma-exposed individuals (N = 77; Mage= 33.96; 57.10% female). Results indicated that MEQ-SF subscales of Accessibility, Coherence, Emotional Intensity, and Sensory Details were significantly associated with engagement in RSDBs, above and beyond PTSD and depressive severity. Those who easily accessed emotionally evocative positive memories tended to engage in elevated RSDBs; those with less coherence and fewer sensory details in their positive memories were also more likely to engage in RSDBs. Theories related to emotion dysregulation and cognitive deficits may explain these obtained relations.

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