Increased overgeneral categoric memory has been reported in individuals with dysphoria and a history of depression. In three experiments, we examined whether increased categoric memory among individuals with depression occurs through generative or direct retrieval. Generative retrieval requires effort or additional information until the end of retrieval; direct retrieval occurs without such effort or information. Participants completed the Autobiographical Memory Test with minimal instructions and were asked whether each retrieval was generative or direct. Depressive symptoms were assessed using a self-reported scale and structured interview. Across three studies, we found that individuals with dysphoria and a history of depression reported high proportions of categoric memory via direct retrieval for negative cues. In addition, Study 3 showed that trait dysfunctional schema predicts direct retrieval of categoric memory for negative cues. We suggest that direct retrieval of categoric memory could indicate depression vulnerability. Decomposing the overgeneral memory (OGM) will help us gain a better understanding of the association between OGM and its negative outcomes.