Anhedonia, positive and negative affect, and social functioning in schizophrenia

Schizophr Bull. 1998;24(3):413-24. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a033336.


This study examines the relationship between anhedonia and the trait dimensions of positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) in schizophrenia. The relationship between poor social functioning in schizophrenia and these individual differences in affectivity is also examined. Schizophrenia outpatients (n = 37) and normal controls (n = 15) were assessed at a baseline evaluation and again approximately 90 days later. Consistent with the hypothesized decrease in hedonic capacity in schizophrenia, patients reported significantly greater physical and social anhedonia and less PA than controls. However, the schizophrenia group also reported significantly greater NA and social anxiety than did controls. In support of the dispositional view of these individual differences in affectivity, trait measures demonstrated test-retest reliability, and group differences between the schizophrenia group and controls were stable over the 90-day followup period. Within the schizophrenia group, physical and social anhedonia were comparably negatively correlated with trait PA; however, social but not physical anhedonia was significantly positively correlated with NA and social anxiety. Poor social functioning in the schizophrenia group was associated with greater physical and social anhedonia and greater NA and social anxiety. Alternatively, greater trait PA was related to better social functioning. These findings indicate that schizophrenia is characterized by both low PA and elevated NA and that these affective characteristics are a stable feature of the illness. The results also suggest important links between affect and social functioning in schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect* / classification
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology