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The recall of dementia-related and neutral words by people with dementia: The ironic process of thought suppression

Cheston, Richard; Dodd, Emily; Hart, India; Christopher, Gary

Authors

Emily Dodd Emily3.Dodd@uwe.ac.uk
Research Associate in Trial Co-ordinator

India Hart



Abstract

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Objective: Thought suppression may not work effectively when people have a cognitive impairment. This study tests whether participants with dementia showed lessened or enhanced recall and recognition of dementia-related words compared with a control population. Methods: Fifty participants living with dementia with mild levels of cognitive impairment and a control group of 52 participants without a diagnosis of dementia took part. A list of 12 words, composed of six dementia-related and six neutral words matched for frequency and length, was read out on four occasions, with the word order being varied for each presentation. Recognition was also assessed. Results: There was an interaction between word-type and participant group at both recall and recognition. While control participants recalled more neutral than dementia-related words, there was no difference for dementia participants. However, dementia participants recognised a significantly higher proportion of the dementia-related words, while there was no difference in word-type recognition for control participants. Conclusions: This study adapts a social psychological paradigm to explore whether an important psychological mechanism for reducing distress can be affected by cognitive impairment. Our findings suggest that for people living with dementia, thought suppression may be either ineffective in reducing conscious awareness of distal threats or operate in an ironic fashion. While threatening proximal material may be repressed from awareness, distal threats may return into implicit awareness. This casts new light on research and has clinical implications.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Journal International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0885-6230
Electronic ISSN 1099-1166
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 5
Pages 756-764
APA6 Citation Cheston, R., Dodd, E., Hart, I., & Christopher, G. (2019). The recall of dementia-related and neutral words by people with dementia: The ironic process of thought suppression. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 34(5), 756-764. https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5083
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5083
Keywords dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, self concept, memory, awareness, threat
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5083

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Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:The recall of dementia‐related and neutral words by people with dementia: The ironic process of thought suppression, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5083. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


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Licence
http://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved

Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:The recall of dementia‐related and neutral words by people with dementia: The ironic process of thought suppression, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.5083. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.







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