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Research Article | Open Access

Moderating role of overgeneral autobiographical memory in the relationship between dysfunctional attitudes and state anxiety

Tianyu Liang1,§Yangming Xu1,§Weiwei Xiang1Ye Li1Wanying Zhang1Zhuolin Feng1Gongping Deng2( )Jing Xiao2( )
Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition and Department of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100037, China
Department of Emergency, Hainan General Hospital, Hainan Affiliated Hospital of Hainan Medical University, Hainan 570311, China

§ Tianyu Liang and Yangming Xu contributed equally to this work.

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Though previous studies have investigated the roles of dysfunctional attitudes and overgeneral autobiographical memory (OGM) in depression, a few have focused on the relationships among dysfunctional attitudes, OGM, and anxiety. Moreover, the moderating role of OGM has received limited scholarly attention.


This study investigated the relationships among dysfunctional attitudes, OGM, and anxiety, as well as the moderating role of OGM in the relationship between dysfunctional attitudes and state anxiety, in a sample of college students.


The sample consisted of 209 nonclinical college students aged between 17 and 23 years (mean age = 19.61 years; females: 76%). The study assessed dysfunctional attitudes and state anxiety using self-report questionnaires, and evaluated OGM using the Autobiographical Memory Test (AMT).


The results indicate that dysfunctional attitudes are risk factors of state anxiety and that OGM moderates the relationship between dysfunctional attitudes and state anxiety. Furthermore, we found that an increase in dysfunctional attitudes is associated with high levels of state anxiety in individuals who have low levels of OGM.


OGM may act as an affect-regulation strategy, and thus may buffer the negative effect of dysfunctional attitudes on state anxiety.


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Stress and Brain
Pages 5-16
Cite this article:
Liang T, Xu Y, Xiang W, et al. Moderating role of overgeneral autobiographical memory in the relationship between dysfunctional attitudes and state anxiety. Stress and Brain, 2022, 2(1-2): 5-16.







Received: 19 June 2021
Revised: 12 October 2021
Accepted: 04 January 2022
Published: 28 January 2022
© The Author(s) 2022

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