Background: An important cognitive marker of clinical depression is a reduced ability to be specific in recalling personal memories, a phenomenon coined ‘overgeneral memory’. Overgeneral memory is considered as a stable cognitive trait that is intrinsically linked with depression and independent of mood state. Previous studies show that autobiographical memory is modifiable. Sampling and Methods: This study investigated whether autobiographical memory is differentially affected by treatment type. Depressed patients were randomly assigned to receive either cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for depression or pharmacotherapy (PHT). Results: The proportion of categoric memories decreased and the proportion of specific memories increased following both types of treatments, adding support to the view that overgeneral memory is modifiable. CBT also had a greater impact on reducing extended overgeneral memories compared to PHT. Conclusions: The results from the current study are important in that they show that overgeneral memory can be targeted and modified through brief treatment. The clinical significance of the finding that there was a greater decrease in extended memories in the CBT group is unclear.

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