Overview There is nearly a complete lack of studies investigating prospective memory in affective disorders such as major depression or bipolar disorder, although some studies have addressed this issue in nonclinical samples (see Kliegel, Jäger, et al., 2005; see Kliegel & Jäger, 2006, for a review). As impairments in retrospective memory (Austin, Mitchell, & Goodwin, 2001; Burt, Zembar & Niederehe, 1995; Rogers et al., 2004) and executive functions (Channon, 1996; Elliott et al., 1997; Robertson & Taylor, 1985) have been found in major depression and bipolar disorder (Quraishi & Frangou, 2002), one can expect prospective memory deficits in patients suffering from affective disorders.
Relevant Findings So far, only one study has addressed prospective remembering in major depression (Rude, Hertel, Jarrold, Covich, & Hedlund, 1999). In this study, patients demonstrated substantial deficits in their ability to carry out a time-based prospective memory task relative to normal controls. This is consistent with the proposal that depression-related impairments may be especially pronounced in tasks that require a high degree of self-initiated, controlled cognitive processes such as time-based prospective memory tasks (Kliegel & Jäger, 2006). Importantly, the findings of Rude et al. (1999) also point to the methodological issue of controlling for the effects of comorbid depression on prospective memory performance when examining other clinical populations.
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