Objective: This study investigated the relationship between trauma survivors' goals and retrieval of self-defining memories in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Methods: Civilian trauma survivors with PTSD, trauma survivors with no PTSD and non-trauma-exposed control participants (N = 49) provided autobiographical memories of events that they believe shaped who they are. Participants also provided details about their major personal goals.
Results: Participants with PTSD reported more self-defining memories that were trauma-related, negative valence and from adult years than non-PTSD and control participants. Further, retrieval of trauma-related self-defining memories was strongly associated with reporting personal goals that were related to traumatic experiences.
Conclusions: These findings are discussed in terms of the proposition that trauma survivors' current concerns may direct retrieval of trauma-related memories.