Anhedonia mediates the relationships between childhood trauma and symptom severity of PTSD and depression, but not of social anxiety

Shilat Haim-Nachum, Doron Amsalem, Amit Lazarov, Reut Zabag, Yuval Neria, M. Roxanne Sopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Childhood trauma is a risk factor for developing multiple forms of psychopathology, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety. Yet, the mechanisms linking childhood trauma and these psychopathologies remain less clear. Objective: Here we examined whether anhedonia, a reduced ability to experience pleasure, may mediate the relationship between childhood trauma and symptom severity of depression, PTSD, and social anxiety. Methods: A total of 230 trauma-exposed participants aged 18–75 were assessed for lifetime trauma exposure, including general and childhood traumatic events, anhedonia, and symptoms of depression, PTSD, and social anxiety. Results: Controlling for age, gender, and general lifetime trauma exposure, mediation analyses revealed a significant mediation effect of anhedonia for the relationship between childhood trauma and symptom severity of depression and PTSD, but not social anxiety. To better understand these significant mediation effects, we repeated the analyses separately for childhood abuse and neglect, and then for the various subtypes of each type of childhood trauma. Results showed a significant mediation effect of anhedonia on symptoms of both depression and PTSD in individuals who reported high emotional and sexual abuse levels. F Anhedonia was also found to mediate the relationship between both emotional and physical neglect and symptoms of depression and PTSD. Conclusion: These findings refine our understanding of the ways in which childhood traumatic experiences may be associated with different mental health problems by increasing anhedonia. Anhedonia may be an important treatment target in survivors of childhood abuse and neglect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-584
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume344
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Anhedonia mediates the relationships between childhood trauma and symptom severity of PTSD and depression, but not of social anxiety'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this