The effects of imagery rescripting on memory outcomes in social anxiety disorder

Mia Romano, David A. Moscovitch, Jonathan D. Huppert, Susanna G. Reimer, Morris Moscovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Imagery rescripting (IR) is an effective intervention for social anxiety disorder (SAD) that targets negative autobiographical memories. IR has been theorized to work through various memory mechanisms, including modifying the content of negative memory representations, changing memory appraisals, and improving negative schema or core beliefs about self and others. However, no prior studies have investigated the unique effects of rescripting itself relative to other IR intervention components on these proposed mechanisms. In this preliminary study, 33 individuals with SAD were randomized to receive a single session of IR, imaginal exposure (IE), or supportive counselling (SC). Memory outcomes were assessed at 1- and 2-weeks post-intervention and at 3-months follow-up. Results demonstrated that the content of participants’ autobiographical memory representations changed in distinct ways across the three conditions. Whereas IR facilitated increases only in positive/neutral memory details, IE facilitated increases in both positive/neutral and negative memory details and SC facilitated no changes in memory details. Although memory appraisals did not differ across conditions, participants who received IR were more likely to update their negative memory-derived core beliefs. These unique effects of rescripting on memory representations and core beliefs enhance our understanding of the memory-based mechanisms of IR within the context of exposure-based learning for people with SAD.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number102169
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume69
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Autobiographical memory
  • Imagery rescripting
  • Imaginal exposure
  • Social anxiety
  • Supportive counselling

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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