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Altered social hedonic processing in eating disorders

Authors


  • Supported by NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at South London; Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London; Swiss Anorexia Foundation.

Abstract

Objective:

Exploring social anhedonia in eating disorders (ED) was the main objective of this study. Social anhedonia relates to a reduced feeling of pleasure from social stimulation. Researching the exact nature of problems in interpersonal relationships is an important topic for clinicians and researchers in the field.

Method:

The revised social anhedonia scale was completed by 148 participants: anorexia nervosa (AN) n = 72; bulimia nervosa (BN) n = 19; recovered AN n = 14; healthy controls (HC) n = 43. Participants also completed mood related measures and the Toronto Alexythimia scale.

Results:

People with AN and BN had higher self-reported social anhedonia than people without ED. Recovered AN had an intermediate profile in between AN and HC. Clinical severity and alexithymia were strongly associated with social anhedonia scores.

Discussion:

Difficulty identifying and expressing feelings could be related to this diminished drive for social pleasure. Tackling these interpersonal maintaining factors in treatment is likely to be a worthwhile endeavor. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)

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