Reduced specificity of autobiographical memory in Cluster C personality disorders and the role of depression, worry, and experiential avoidance.
The study objective was to investigate whether, compared with nonclinical controls, participants with an avoidant, dependent, or obsessive-compulsive Cluster C personality disorder (PD) manifested reduced levels of memory specificity and whether the association of Cluster C PDs with memory specificity is mediated by repetitive negative thoughts and experiential avoidance. The Autobiographical Memory Test (R. J. McNally, N. B. Lasko, M. L. Macklin, & R. K. Pitman, 1995) was administered along with self-report measures (translated into Dutch) for repetitive, uncontrollable, and negative thinking in the form of worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire; T. J. Meyer, M. L. Miller, R. L. Metzger, & T. D. Borkovec, 1990) and experiential avoidance (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire; S. C. Hayes et al., 2004) to 294 clinical participants diagnosed with Axis I disorders (assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders [SCID-I]; M. B. First, R. L. Spitzer, M. Gibbon, & J. B. W. Williams, 1994) and Axis II disorders (assessed with the SCID-II; M. B. First, R. L. Spitzer, M. Gibbon, & J. B. W. Williams, 1997)--202 with avoidant, 49 with dependent, and 120 with obsessive-compulsive PD--and to 108 matched nonclinical controls. Participants with a Cluster C PD showed lower levels of memory specificity than did nonclinical controls. Depression and worry mediated the effect of Cluster C PDs on memory specificity. Besides depression severity, repetitive, uncontrollable, and negative thinking may constitute a general mechanism mediating the association of various Axis I and II disorders with memory specificity.