Feasibility and Effectiveness of Memory Specificity Training in Depressed Outpatients: A Pilot Study

Eline Eigenhuis*, Adrie Seldenrijk, Anneke van Schaik, Filip Raes, Patricia van Oppen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Research has shown that depressed patients suffer from reduced autobiographical memory specificity (rAMS). This cognitive phenomenon is associated with the maintenance and recurrence of depressive symptoms. Objectives: This pilot study aims to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of a relatively new group-based intervention (Memory Specificity Training; MeST) that aims to reduce rAMS in an outpatient setting. Methods: Twenty-six depressed outpatients received MeST during the waiting period prior to psychotherapy. The Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ-8) was used to measure client satisfaction after the training. The Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT) was used to measure memory specificity before and after the training. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), before and after the training, and at a 3-month follow-up. Results: Participants as well as trainers were positive about the use of MeST. Participants also showed an increase in memory specificity and a decrease in depressive symptoms. Conclusions: This study suggests that MeST is feasible in an outpatient setting, that it increases autobiographical memory specificity and that it may decrease depressive symptoms. A randomized controlled trial is recommended to examine MeST and its effects on autobiographical memory specificity, depressive symptoms and depressive relapse more extensively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-277
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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