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Background: An important cognitive marker of clinical depression is a reduced ability to be specific in recalling personal memories, a phenomenon coined ‘overgeneral memory’. Overgeneral memory is considered as a stable cognitive trait that is intrinsically linked with depression and independent of mood state. Previous studies show that autobiographical memory is modifiable. Sampling and Methods: This study investigated whether autobiographical memory is differentially affected by treatment type. Depressed patients were randomly assigned to receive either cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for depression or pharmacotherapy (PHT). Results: The proportion of categoric memories decreased and the proportion of specific memories increased following both types of treatments, adding support to the view that overgeneral memory is modifiable. CBT also had a greater impact on reducing extended overgeneral memories compared to PHT. Conclusions: The results from the current study are important in that they show that overgeneral memory can be targeted and modified through brief treatment. The clinical significance of the finding that there was a greater decrease in extended memories in the CBT group is unclear.
The development of the Mindfulness‐Based Cognitive Therapy Adherence Scale (MBCT‐AS) is described. This 17‐item scale measures therapist adherence to the treatment protocol for Mindfulness‐Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), a treatment for the prevention of recurrence in Major Depressive Disorder. The MBCT‐AS assesses therapist behaviours specific to (MBCT) as well as therapy practices that MBCT shares with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). To determine the utility of this scale, we compared delivery of group MBCT against group CBT, with independent ratings of taped sessions provided to measure adherence to MBCT and CBT for therapists in both groups. The results showed that: (a) raters can reliably use the MBCT‐AS; (b) MBCT therapists demonstrated adherence to the treatment protocol, as measured by the MBCT‐AS; and (c) MBCT is distinguishable from CBT on both the MBCT‐AS and a scale measuring adherence to CBT (CBT‐AS). These findings indicate that the MBCT‐AS may be a useful tool for ensuring the proper delivery of MBCT in future research, and may be helpful in determining the elements of MBCT that are unique to that treatment.