Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Second Department


First Advisor

Catherine Walker




depression, memory, recall, anxiety, intervention, treatment


Prior research has found that depression affects how individuals recall self-defining memories by preventing individuals from properly encoding and retrieving memories, resulting in a suspected inability to recall specific events and information (Conway, 1990). The current study aimed to replicate this finding and to examine whether this phenomenon exists within those with higher levels of anxiety, a concept not previously studied. Fifty-three participants were asked to recall two self-defining memories (Singer & Blagov, 2000) and forty- seven participants described where they saw themselves two years from now in order to determine whether depression and anxiety affect future projections as well as memory recall. It was hypothesized that individuals who score higher on depression and anxiety inventories would respond to the self-defining memory task with generic or episodic memories more often than they would with a specific response, a hypothesis that was not supported, although memory type (pure specific, specific with generalization, specific with multiple singe events, episodic, and generic) was predictive of scores on the BDI and BAI. It was also hypothesized that these individuals would write about their future using more negatively valenced words and shorter response lengths than would individuals who scored lower on these inventories, and it was found that valence, although not response length was predictive of scores on the BAI. These findings suggest that the self-defining memory task and self-defining future projections task may be a good indicator of high anxiety and depression as determined by the BAI and BDI and can be used as a tool to identify individuals for early intervention for anxiety and depression treatment.

Available for download on Friday, June 15, 2018