Title: Was it so bad? The role of retrospective memory in symptom reporting
Authors: Walentynowicz, Marta ×
Bogaerts, Katleen
Van Diest, Ilse
Raes, Filip
Van den Bergh, Omer #
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Series Title: Health Psychology vol:34 issue:12 pages:1166-1174
Abstract: Objective: Retrospective symptom reports are an important source of information in both laboratory and clinical settings. The present study investigated memory for experimentally induced pain and dyspnea in high and low habitual symptom reporters (HSR). Methods: Healthy women (N = 48; 24 high/24 low HSR) participated in 2 laboratory studies. One study included 2 pain episodes (cold pressor task), the other study included 2 dyspnea episodes (rebreathing task). Pain and dyspnea ratings were collected (a) continuously during symptom inductions, (b) after each trial, (c) immediately after the experiment, and (d) at 2-week follow-up. Symptom ratings, negative affect (NA), and anxiety measures were also completed following each trial. Results: Although the retrospective pain ratings were higher in the high compared with the low HSR group (p = .01), both groups rated recalled dyspnea higher relative to concurrent dyspnea (p < .001). A further increase in bias over time was only found for dyspnea in high HSR (p = .02). Moreover, dyspnea induction was associated with higher state NA (p = .03) and anxiety (p = .007) than pain induction. Conclusions: Our findings show that even though memory for pain and dyspnea is overall distorted, the extent of bias in symptom recall clearly differs between symptoms and groups. The observed increase of dyspnea reporting over time may have important implications for diagnostic assessment based on symptom reporting.
ISSN: 0278-6133
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Health Psychology
Centre for Psychology of Learning and Experimental Psychopathology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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