Retrograde Autobiographical Memory From PTA Emergence to Six-Month Follow-Up in Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

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OBJECTIVE: The overwhelming focus of research on memory following traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been on anterograde amnesia, and very little attention has been paid to retrograde amnesia. There is evidence to suggest that retrograde autobiographical memory deficits exist after severe TBI, although there have been no prospective studies of autobiographical memory in a representative sample of moderate to severe cases recruited from hospital admissions. METHODS: The purpose of the present study was to report changes in autobiographical memory performance among a group of patients soon after emergence from posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) and at the 6-month follow-up compared with a healthy control (HC) group. The authors also examined associations with anterograde memory function and community integration to assist in understanding the functional impact of autobiographical memory deficits and potential underlying mechanisms. The Autobiographical Memory Interview and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test were used as measures of retrograde and anterograde memory, respectively, and the Community Integration Questionnaire was used as a measure of functional outcome in the TBI group. RESULTS: The results demonstrated that both personal semantic and episodic autobiographical memory scores were impaired following emergence from PTA and at the 6-month follow-up. Only subtle differences emerged in change over time in different injury severity groups. Recent retrograde memory function was associated with anterograde memory performance, which supports some degree of overlap in underlying mechanisms. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that autobiographical memory deficits are prevalent following moderate to severe TBI and warrant consideration in rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-122
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Memory
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

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