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No joy - why bother? Higher anhedonia relates to reduced pleasure from and motivation for threat avoidance.

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Anhedonia impairs various components of the pleasure cycle, including wanting, liking, and the learning of pleasure-related associations. While successfully controlling threats might be inherently pleasurable, it remains unclear whether anhedonia affects this form of pleasure as well. With aversive pictures as threats, we conducted an online study ( N = 200) to investigate the role of anhedonia during active avoidance learning process. Participants first learned cue-threat associations for different cues (threat vs. safety cues). In a subsequent avoidance learning phase, these cues signaled either avoidable, unavoidable, or no threat; participants could perform avoidance responses to prevent the upcoming threats during those cue presentations. Subjective relief pleasantness was measured after each threat omission. We found that higher trait anticipatory and consummatory anhedonia were both associated with lower relief pleasantness. Higher trait anticipatory anhedonia was also associated with fewer avoidance attempts. Since reduced threat-controlling behavior is reminiscent of a learned-helplessness state, the current results contribute to a better understanding of the connections between anhedonia and learned helplessness that have mostly been studied separately in the context of mood disturbance.
Tijdschrift: Behaviour Research and Therapy
ISSN: 0005-7967
Volume: 159
Jaar van publicatie:2022