Future and past autobiographical memory in persons with HIV disease.

Kelli L. Sullivan, David P. Sheppard, Briana Johnson, Jennifer L. Thompson, Luis D. Medina, Clayton Neighbors, Rodrigo Hasbun, Erin E. Morgan, Shayne Loft, Steven Paul Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: While HIV disease is associated with impairment in declarative memory, the ability of people with HIV (PWH) to describe past and future autobiographical events is not known. Method: Participants included 63 PWH and 28 seronegative individuals ages 50–78 who completed standardized neurocognitive and everyday functioning assessments. Participants described four events from the recent past and four imagined events in the near future, details from which were classified as internal or external to the main event. Result: PWH produced fewer autobiographical details with small-to-medium effect sizes but did not differ from seronegative participants in meta-cognitive ratings of their performance. Performance of the study groups did not vary across past or future probes or internal versus external details; however, within the entire sample, past events were described in greater detail than future events, and more external than internal details were produced. Within the PWH group, the production of fewer internal details for future events was moderately associated with poorer prospective memory, executive dysfunction, and errors on a laboratory-based task of medication management. Conclusion: Older PWH may experience difficulty generating autobiographical details from the past and simulated events in the future, which may be related to executive dyscontrol of memory processes. Future studies might examine the role of future thinking in health behaviors such as medication adherence and retention in healthcare among PWH. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Key Points—Question: Do older adults with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) disease have difficulty remembering personal events from their near past and imagining events in their near future? Findings: As compared to seronegative adults, older persons with HIV have mild difficulties recalling information from their personal past and imagining future events. These difficulties may be partly related to executive dysfunction and can adversely affect their ability to remember to complete future actions. Importance: Findings suggest that one’s ability to imagine future events may play a role in adaptive cognitive functions and medication management capacity. Next Steps: Future studies might examine whether imagining future events can be improved with strategic supports (e.g., guided imagery) and/or plays a role in the health behaviors of older adults with HIV (e.g., engagement and retention in healthcare). (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Future and past autobiographical memory in persons with HIV disease.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this