Neuroleptic-free youth at ultrahigh risk for psychosis evidence diminished emotion reactivity that is predicted by depression and anxiety

June Gruber*, Gregory P. Strauss, Laure Dombrecht, Vijay A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although abnormalities in emotional response have long been considered a core feature of the chronic phase of schizophrenia, few investigations have examined emotional response in individuals at ultrahigh-risk (UHR) for psychosis. We investigated whether neuroleptic-free UHR (n = 29) and healthy control (n = 32) participants differed in emotional reactivity and emotion regulation on a laboratory-based task that required reporting levels of positive and negative affect to pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral stimuli. Results indicated that the UHR group evidenced reduced emotional reactivity, including decreased positive emotion to pleasant stimuli and decreased negative emotion to unpleasant stimuli. Furthermore, within the UHR group, attenuated positive emotion to pleasant stimuli was associated with greater severity of depression and anxiety. There were no group differences in self-reported emotion regulation effectiveness to unpleasant or pleasant stimuli. Findings suggest that UHR youth display a profile of emotional experience abnormalities that differs from the chronic phase of illness, which can be characterized as reduced positive emotion reactivity to pleasant stimuli (i.e., anhedonia) that may be driven by mood and anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-434
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume193
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Anhedonia
  • Emotion
  • Emotion regulation
  • Psychosis
  • Social functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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