Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edelyn Verona, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark Goldman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chad Dube, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent Small, Ph.D.


Affect, Autobiographical memory test, Memory characteristics, Methodology


Studies have consistently found autobiographical memory (AM) impairments in persons with depression. However, these studies have largely utilized generic word cues to elicit AM, yet word cues do not reflect how AMs are typically represented in the mind nor how AMs are usually cued in daily life. The current two-part study employed improved methodology to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of cues on AM recall and emotional functioning in depression. In part one, a set of word and image cues were developed and validated. In part two, twenty-one currently depressed and 31 never-depressed participants were instructed to recall specific AMs in response to valenced word and image cues. Process and content characteristics of the recalled AMs were examined, as well as participants’ self-reported affect after each AM recall. Study hypotheses were partially supported. Findings indicated that cue type and valence impacted process and content characteristics of AM, and these effects did not differ between currently depressed and never-depressed participants. However, cue characteristics did differentially impact depressed and never-depressed participants’ self-reported positive affect after AM recall. Interpretation and implication of the findings are discussed.