A decline in self-defining memories following a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE: Receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be a profound life transition that often has a negative influence on the patient's sense of self. The present study is the first to examine how self-defining memories are temporally distributed around age at diagnosis of schizophrenia. METHOD: 25 patients and 25 matched control participants identified 3 self-defining memories from their lives. In addition, participants were assessed with standardized interviews and questionnaires on negative and positive symptoms as well as tests of cognitive function. RESULTS: Patients' self-defining memories increased in the years leading up to diagnosis and declined abruptly in the years immediately following diagnosis. The pre-diagnosis increase in self-defining memories was not attributable primarily to a rise in disease-related recollections. CONCLUSION: The sharp post-diagnosis memory decline suggests that patients find it difficult to establish new or evolve existing definitions of self. Implications for models of schizophrenia and for clinical practice are discussed.
  • Authors

  • Holm, Tine
  • Pillemer, David
  • Bliksted, Vibeke
  • Thomsen, Dorthe Kirkegaard
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • July 2017
  • Published In


  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Self Concept
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28399428
  • Start Page

  • 18
  • End Page

  • 25
  • Volume

  • 76