Children exposed to traumatic events either recently (Study 1) or in the past (Study 2) were administered the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT). In Study 1 (N = 67), when asked to retrieve memories from the 24-hour period following their trauma, children with higher levels of acute stress disorder symptoms retrieved a greater number of specific memories on the AMT than either children with low acute stress levels or hospital control children; no difference between groups was observed when memories were retrieved from a period that predated their trauma. However, in Study 2 (N = 67) children with posttraumatic stress disorder retrieved fewer specific memories than non-PTSD controls. The two studies represent the first occasions that AMT performance has been examined in acutely traumatised children and in a sample of children stringently diagnosed with PTSD respectively. The findings underscore the need for further prospective research with clinical samples of children who have experienced trauma.
- Autobiographical memory