Anhedonia is a common symptom of several disorders, but cost-effective treatments that focus on anhedonia specifically have been lacking. Therefore, personalized lifestyle advice has recently been investigated as a suitable means of enhancing pleasure and positive affect (PA) in young adults with anhedonia. This intervention provided individuals with a personalized lifestyle advice which was based on observed individual patterns of lifestyle behaviors and experienced pleasure in daily life. The present study extends this previous work by examining a potential mechanism of treatment success, affective reactivity.
We explored changes in affective reactivity to events in daily life from pre- to post-intervention in a subclinical sample of young adults with anhedonia (N = 69). Using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), participants answered questions on their activities, their pleasure levels, PA and negative affect (NA) before and after the intervention.
Multilevel analysis revealed that participants did not experience an altered affective reactivity to positive events after the intervention. The affective reactivity to negative events depended on the level of improvement in mean-PA after the lifestyle advice intervention. Limitations: The present study used a subclinical sample with the majority of participants being female which limited the generalizability of the findings.
This study suggests that an altered affective reactivity to negative events is an underlying mechanism of the effectiveness of a personalized lifestyle advice.
- Affective reactivity
- Personalized lifestyle advice
- Experience sampling method