Caribbean Journal of Psychology: Vol. 3, Issue 1, 2010

Article 1
The Emotional Quality of Childhood Memories and Depression in Trinidadian Older Adults

Nicole Alea
Rae-Ann C. Thomas
Bernadette G. Manickchand
Marlene P. Ramirez-Cole
Camille P. Renaud-Simon
Kemi L. Bacchus
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus



Abstract

The purpose of the current study is to examine the relation between the emotional quality of childhood memories and depressive symptoms in older adults. Participants were 35 male and 65 female Trinidadians over the age of Participants were asked to recall their three most vivid childhood memories and then to rate the valence, emotional intensity, physiological emotional reactions, and extent to which they relived the emotions during remembering. Depressive symptoms were assessed. It was found that the valence of the memory mattered for men, and that the emotional intensity and extent of reliving childhood memories predicted depression in late life regardless of gender. Further analyses revealed that anger associated with childhood memories plays a unique role in predicting depressive symptoms in adulthood. Results are discussed in terms of the power that memories of childhood events have on psychological wellbeing well into late life.