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Strohm, Miriam; Siegesleitner, Marena; Kunze, Anna E.; Ehring, Thomas and Wittekind, Charlotte E. (2019): Imagery Rescripting of Aversive Autobiographical Memories: Effects on Memory Distress, Emotions, and Feelings of Mastery. In: Cognitive Therapy and Research, Vol. 43, No. 6: pp. 1005-1017

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Abstract

Imagery rescripting (ImRs) has been shown to be a promising intervention for aversive emotional memories, but research on underlying mechanisms is only in its beginnings. Previous analogue studies on ImRs were mainly based on the trauma film paradigm, but the personal relevance of film-induced memories is limited. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the effects of ImRs on personally relevant autobiographical memories. Sixty-five participants who had experienced a distressing life-event were randomly assigned to ImRs or no-intervention control (NIC). ImRs led to less intrusive memories than NIC during the 1-week follow-up period, but was not superior in reducing overall event-related stress symptoms. When retrieving the memory after 1 week, ImRs participants reported greater reductions in sadness and distress, and higher feelings of mastery. Findings underline the potential of the paradigm used in this study to test memory processes involved in ImRs. Limitations and modifications of the paradigm are discussed.

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