Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Self-defining memories related to illness and their integration into the self in patients with schizophrenia

Authors
Journal
Psychiatry Research
0165-1781
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
189
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.03.006
Keywords
  • Psychosis
  • Personal Identity
  • Autobiographical Memory
  • Cognition
  • Emotion
  • Trauma
Disciplines
  • Literature

Abstract

Abstract Although schizophrenia alters the sense of personal identity, little is known about the impact of illness-related autobiographical events on patients' self-representation. We investigated self-defining memories (SDM) in 24 patients with schizophrenia and 24 controls to explore how illness-related SDM were integrated into the self at both the cognitive (how participants are able to give a meaning to past events: meaning making) and affective levels (how participants can re-experience past negative events as less negative: redemption and benefaction effects). We found that 26% of freely recalled SDM referred to their illness in patients. Further, while meaning making was impaired in patients for both illness-related and other SDM, illness-related SDM were characterized by a higher redemption and benefaction effects than other SDM. Our results highlight that despite a reduced ability to give a meaning to illness-related episodes, emotional processing seems to allow these events to become positively integrated into patients' life stories. This study provides new findings about the construction of the self in relation to psychotic episodes in patients with schizophrenia. We discuss clinical implications of our results that are helpful to guide cognitive interventions.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.