The “cry of pain” model for suicidal behavior has received empirical support in studies of several mental disorders. As the first of its kind this study aims at investigating the association between overgeneral autobiographical memory, a vital aspect in the “cry of pain” model, and suicidal behavior in Bipolar Disorder. Further, this study seeks to explore the association between overgeneral autobiographical memory and hopelessness and exposure to trauma. Individuals with previous suicidal behavior (n=8) and without suicidal behavior (n=28) were compared on ability to produce specific memories in response to the Autobiographical Memory Test (Williams & Broadbent, 1986). Subjects were recruited from Diakonhjemmet Hospital (n=26) and Sørlandet Hospital, Arendal (n=10). The present study does not find an association between overgeneral autobiographical memory and suicidal behavior. However, the study finds that the suicidal group tends to produce fewer total autobiographical memories. In relation to trauma, no associations are found either for suicidal behavior or overgeneral autobiographical memory. A significant and systematic association is found between specific autobiographical memory and recent life events.
To conclude, the findings of the current study does not confirm an association between suicidal behavior and autobiographical memory in Bipolar Disorder. Still, due to limited statistical power and a low prevalence of suicidal behavior in this study, one cannot discard the existence of such an association as findings reveal a tendency towards less specific autobiographical memory in the suicidal group. As such, the current study does at best present an inconsistent picture in respect to the “cry of pain” model’s applicability to Bipolar Disorder. Neither trauma nor hopelessness was found to be associated with autobiographical memory or suicidal behavior. Finally, an association between autobiographical memory and recent life events was found.