Title

Trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder severity, and positive memories

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

9-13-2020

Abstract

Positive memories play an important role in the aetiology and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, most trauma research/clinical work has focused solely on the role of traumatic memories. Thus, we examined the relationship between count of retrieved positive memories and PTSD severity, factors associated with count of retrieved positive memories (i.e., rumination, negative/positive emotion dysregulation, fear of positive emotions), and the relationship between positive memory phenomenological domains and PTSD severity. The sample included 185 trauma-exposed participants recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (M age = 35.69 years; 63.80% female). Results of linear/hierarchical regressions showed that (1) PTSD severity did not predict count of (specific) positive memories; (2) greater positive emotion dysregulation predicted fewer retrieved positive memories controlling for PTSD severity; and (3) greater PTSD severity predicted more negative valence, less vividness, less coherence, less accessibility, less clear time perspective, fewer sensory details, and greater distancing ratings of the retrieved positive memory, controlling for sleep quantity/quality. Findings add to the literature by informing PTSD theoretical perspectives; enhancing an understanding of positive memories in PTSD/trauma treatments; and highlighting potential clinical targets (e.g., positive emotion regulation), when integrating a focus on positive memories into PTSD intervention.

Publication Title

Memory

Volume

28

Issue

8

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