Autobiographical memory, depression and quality of life in multiple sclerosis

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2000 Feb;22(1):125-31. doi: 10.1076/1380-3395(200002)22:1;1-8;FT125.


The relationship between autobiographical memory, depression and quality of life (QoL) was investigated in a study of 30 persons with severe neurodisability resulting from multiple sclerosis. Sixty percent (n = 18) of patients were found to have deficits in autobiographical memory (AMI) for incidents in their earlier life; these deficits were associated with significant impairments in personal semantic memory of facts from their past life. Patients with impaired autobiographical memory who had been diagnosed for longer than 21 years reported significantly better QoL (SF-36: Role Physical) than those diagnosed more recently, or those with normal autobiographical memory; patients who had been diagnosed for longer were also significantly less depressed than patients diagnosed more recently. Patients with normal autobiographical memory reported the highest levels of depression (HADS) and the lowest levels of QoL (Role Physical). It is concluded that impairment of autobiographical memory affects perception of QoL; patients with deficits in autobiographical memory had impaired knowledge about their past QoL and may therefore be unable to make valid comparative judgements about the quality of their present life.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sick Role*