Extant research suggests a complex relationship between prospective memory (PM) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity. In a general population, this relationship exists for self-report assessment but not objective, in-lab PM performance (e.g., pressing a certain key at a particular time, or when particular words appear). However, both these measurement methods have limitations. Objective, in-lab PM tasks might not represent typical everyday performance, while self-report measurement might be biased by metacognitive beliefs. Thus, we used a naturalistic diary paradigm to answer the overarching question: are PTSD symptoms associated with PM failures in everyday life? We found a small positive correlation between diary-recorded PM errors and PTSD symptom severity (r = .21). Time-based tasks (i.e., intentions completed at a particular time, or after a specified time has elapsed; r = .29), but not event-based tasks (i.e., intentions completed in response to an environmental cue; r = .08), correlated with PTSD symptoms. Moreover, although diary-recorded and self-report PM correlated, we did not replicate the finding that metacognitive beliefs underpin the PM-PTSD relationship. These results suggest that metacognitive beliefs might be particularly important for self-report PM only.
- Prospective memory