Acute Stress Reduces Reward Responsiveness: Implications for Depression

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Acute Stress Reduces Reward Responsiveness: Implications for Depression

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Title: Acute Stress Reduces Reward Responsiveness: Implications for Depression
Author: Bogdan, Ryan; Pizzagalli, Diego

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Bogdan, Ryan, and Diego A. Pizzagalli. 2006. Acute stress reduces reward responsiveness: Implications for depression. Biological Psychiatry 60(10): 1147-1154.
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Abstract: Background: Stress, one of the strongest risk factors for depression, has been linked to "anbedonic" behavior and dysfunctional reward-related neural circuitry in preclinical models. Methods: To test if acute stress reduces reward responsiveness (i.e., the ability to modulate behavior as a function of past reward), a signal-detection task coupled with a differential reinforcement schedule was utilized. Eighty female participants completed the task under both a stress condition, either threat-of-shock (h = 38) or negative performance feedback (h = 42), and a no-stress condition. Results: Stress increased negative affect and anxiety. As hypothesized based on preclinical findings, stress, particularly the threat-of-shock condition, impaired reward responsiveness. Regression analyses indicate that self-report measures of anbedonia predicted stress-induced hedonic deficits even after controlling for anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: These findings indicate that acute stress reduces reward responsiveness, particularly in individuals with anhedonic symptoms. Stress-induced hedonic deficit is a promising candidate mechanism linking stressful experiences to depression.
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