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10-09-2020 | ORIGINAL PAPER Open Access

Trait Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation upon Autobiographical Memory Retrieval during Depression Remission

Aleksandra Eriksen Isham, Adriana del Palacio-Gonzalez, Barbara Dritschel
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s12671-020-01494-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Depression is associated with both emotion dysregulation upon retrieval of autobiographical memories and low trait mindfulness. The present study raised the question of whether these processes are related to each other and whether they may reflect a cognitive-affective vulnerability in individuals at risk of depression. The study examined emotion regulation in response to involuntary and voluntary autobiographical memories during depression remission and explored how trait mindfulness relates to such emotion regulation.


The study employed a naturalistic design in which individuals with remitted depression (n = 35) and individuals with no history of depression (n = 32) completed a trait mindfulness measure and a structured memory diary where they rated state use of five emotion regulation strategies upon involuntary and voluntary autobiographical memory retrieval.


Individuals with remitted depression reported heightened brooding in response to autobiographical memories when memory retrieval occurred involuntarily, and trait mindfulness was low. Depression remission and higher trait mindfulness were independently associated with greater cognitive reappraisal efforts upon involuntary retrieval of autobiographical memories. Higher trait mindfulness predicted less memory suppression, irrespective of depression history and memory retrieval mode.


The findings suggest a vulnerability in emotional processing of autobiographical memories during depression remission that is dependent on mindfulness skill level and how memories come to mind.

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