Article

Acute Stress Reduces Reward Responsiveness: Implications for Depression

Department of Psychology, Harvard University, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 12/2006; 60(10):1147-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.03.037
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Stress, one of the strongest risk factors for depression, has been linked to "anhedonic" behavior and dysfunctional reward-related neural circuitry in preclinical models.
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 (n = 38) or negative performance feedback (n = 42), and a no-stress condition.
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 anhedonia predicted stress-induced hedonic deficits even after controlling for anxiety symptoms.
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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    • "Trials with reaction times more than 3 SD away from the mean, or premature/no response trials, were excluded (3.59%). Reward response bias (or simply reward bias, Log b) and discriminability (Log d) were computed using the method described in previous studies (Bogdan and Pizzagalli, 2006; Pizzagalli et al., 2005). Reward bias (towards the'rich', i.e. more frequently rewarded, stimulus ) was our main behavioural outcome measure, while discriminability acted as a control measure for overall task performance . "
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    • ") and adults (Bogdan and Pizzagalli, 2006; Pizzagalli et al., 2008) exhibit reward dysfunction, which may be a promising phenotype of depression. Converging evidence from neuroimaging studies characterizing the neuropathology of these reward deficits has highlighted dysfunction within the anterior cingulate cortex (Steele et al., 2007) and striatum (Pizzagalli et al., 2009). "
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    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
    • "The notions of environmental reinforcement and biological reward responsiveness have been linked in a study by Bogdan and Pizzagalli (2006) who found that acute stress (a response to stressful environments) reduces reward responsiveness, particularly in individuals with anhedonic symptoms. Since stress is one of the strongest risk factors for depression, the hypothesis of a stress-induced hedonic deficit is a promising candidate mechanism linking stressful experiences to depression, via deficient accessing of reinforcing events. "
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