Autobiographical memories in patients treated for breast cancer

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Oct;57(4):363-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2004.01.009.


Objective: Previous research has shown that several clinical groups have difficulties with generating specific autobiographical memories. The aim of this study was to investigate autobiographical memory function in women who had been treated for breast cancer and to compare those patients who had undergone mastectomy only with those who had undergone breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy.

Method: A sample of 26 women treated for breast cancer were tested via telephone using the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT).

Results: Breast cancer patients had difficulty retrieving specific autobiographical memories compared to a group of age-matched controls without any history of breast cancer. There were essentially no differences between the two patient groups.

Conclusion: Since breast cancer patients are vulnerable to emotional distress, autobiographical memory deficits should be investigated further.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Mammaplasty / psychology
  • Mastectomy, Modified Radical / psychology
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Reference Values
  • Sick Role
  • Word Association Tests