The Relationship Between Depressive Symptomatology and the Recall of Autobiographical Memories in Elderly People

Daniela Silvestre, Victor Cláudio


Aim: The continuous progression of population aging and the high prevalence of depression in the elderly are evident. This investigation aimed to study the relationship between depressive symptomatology and the recall of autobiographical memories in the elderly, because studies in this field have shown that overgeneralization of autobiographical memories was presented as a stable feature that works both as a marker and predictor of depression. Method: The sample is composed of 50 elderly, aged between 65 and 92 years. They were divided into two groups: Without Depressive Symptomatology (n = 32) and With Depressive Symptomatology (n = 18). A sociodemographic questionnaire, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Autobiographical Memory Test were applied. Results: The absence of an overgeneralization of autobiographical memories in people with depressive symptomatology was observed. Older people without depressive symptomatology did not differ significantly from the elderly with depressive symptomatology in the evocation of specific, categorical and extended autobiographical memories, positive and negative emotional valence and latency times. Conclusion: The hypothesis that the inexistence of differences can be explained by the slight severity of depressive symptoms for most seniors with depressive symptomatology was raised. We suggest that more knowledge in this field will allow the increment of the prevention and the development of interventions more adequate to the elderly.


elderly; depressive symptomatology; autobiographical memories