Social anhedonia and clinical outcomes in early adulthood: A three-year follow-up study within a community sample

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Social anhedonia has been employed in psychometric high risk studies to identify putative schizotypes. The current study reports three-year longitudinal results from a community study of social anhedonia: the Maryland Longitudinal Study of Schizotypy (MLSS). The initial recruitment for the MLSS involved mailed questionnaire screening of 2434 18-year olds. Baseline and three-year follow-up laboratory assessments were subsequently conducted with individuals identified as being high in social anhedonia (N = 79) and a comparison sample (N = 79). Across the assessments both groups showed maturational improvement on all clinical symptom measures with declining symptom severity at the follow-up compared to baseline and there were no group differences in personality disorder diagnoses at follow-up. However, compared to the control group, over the three-year follow-up individuals in the social anhedonia group were found to have elevated schizophrenia-spectrum personality disorder (Cluster A) characteristics, greater negative symptom characteristics, and lower global functioning. The social anhedonia group also had lower educational attainment, higher unemployment, and higher rates of mental health service utilization than did the control group. Within the social anhedonia group, social support and family relationships were cross-sectionally related to symptom severity at follow-up, although social support and family variables from baseline were not predictive of clinical symptom outcomes at follow-up. Results indicate that social anhedonia is associated with persistent schizophrenia-spectrum symptoms and functional impairment in early adulthood.

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Schizophrenia research

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