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Reduced autobiographical memory specificity as a mediating factor between general anxiety symptoms and performance on problem-solving tasks

journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2018, 00:00 authored by David HallfordDavid Hallford, N Noory, David MellorDavid Mellor
This study sought to further explain the association between general anxiety symptoms and impaired problem-solving by testing whether this occurs, in part, through a reduced ability to retrieve event-level, specific autobiographical memory (AM). Participants (N = 301; M age = 28.2 SD = 7.7, 55.8% female) completed assessments of the retrieval of specific AM, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and rumination. They then completed the Means-End Problem Solving Task, which assessed their ability to produce relevant problem-solving steps. Participants who were higher in anxiety reported a lesser number of relevant problem-solving steps, and this association was, in part, related to anxiety being associated with reduced AM specificity (after controlling for depressive symptoms). Rumination did not mediate anxiety and problem-solving, nor anxiety and AM specificity. These findings provide further evidence that elevated anxiety is associated with reduced ability to retrieve specific AM, and a specific cognitive pathway through which anxiety may affect problem-solving performance.

History

Journal

Applied cognitive psychology

Volume

32

Issue

5

Season

September/October

Pagination

641 - 647

Publisher

Wiley

Location

Chichester, Eng.

ISSN

0888-4080

eISSN

1099-0720

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.