Anhedonia in adolescents at ultra-high risk (UHR) of psychosis: findings from a 1-year longitudinal study

Lorenzo Pelizza, Michele Poletti, Silvia Azzali, Federica Paterlini, Sara Garlassi, Ilaria Scazza, Luigi R. Chiri, Simona Pupo, Eva Gebhardt, Andrea Raballo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous findings suggested deficits in pleasure experience in schizophrenia, but little is known in psychosis risk prodrome, especially in adolescence. Aim of this study was (1) to assess anhedonia in distinct help-seeking subgroups of adolescents identified through the ultra-high risk (UHR) criteria, (2) to explore any association of anhedonia with other psychopathological aspects in the UHR group, and (3) to monitor longitudinally the stability of anhedonia in UHR individuals across 1-year follow-up period. 123 participants (13–18 years) completed the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States (CAARMS), the Beck Depression Inventory-II, the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief version, the Brief-O-LIFE questionnaire (BOL), and the Brief version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life scale (WHOQOL-BREF). Two different indexes of anhedonia were used: CAARMS “Anhedonia” item 4.3 and BOL “Introvertive Anhedonia” subscale scores. No difference in anhedonia levels between UHR and First Episode Psychosis (FEP) groups was found. UHR adolescents showed higher CAARMS and BOL anhedonia scores than non-UHR/FEP. After 1-year follow-up period, UHR adolescents had a significant decrease in severity only in CAARMS anhedonia subscores. In UHR subgroup, CAARMS anhedonia measures showed significant correlations with impaired role functioning and negative symptoms, while BOL anhedonia was significantly correlated with specific schizotypal personality traits concerning interpersonal deficits. Anhedonia is prominent in the psychosis prodrome, also in adolescence. Its severity is not statistically different from that of FEP adolescents and is related to more severe functioning impairment and a worse quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anhedonia
  • Depression
  • Early psychosis
  • Negative symptoms
  • Ultra-high risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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