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J Affect Disord. 2002 Sep;71(1-3):141-51.

Relationship of anhedonia and anxiety to social rank, defeat and entrapment.

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  • 1Mental Health Research Unit, Kingsway Hospital, Derby DE22 3LZ, UK. p.gilbert@derby.ac.uk

Abstract

There is good evidence to suggest that depression is highly correlated with perceptions of low rank and subordinate status (i.e. feeling inferior, low-self esteem, feeling that others look down on the self, and submissive behaviour). However, it is possible for people to feel inferior and anxious, and behave submissively but not necessarily be depressed. More recently two other processes, defeat and entrapment, have attracted attention as possible processes linked specifically to depression and anhedonia. This research explored the relationship of these variables (social rank variables and defeat and entrapment) to two measures of hedonic tone (low positive affectivity and anhedonia) and anxiety in both a clinical and student population. All variables were strongly associated with lowered hedonic tone and anxiety. However, partial correlations, and a structural equation model fitted to the data from combined groups, suggests that perceptions of defeat play a specifically important role in anhedonia as measured by low positive affect. Framed within an evolutionary model the data suggest that the mechanisms which evolved to help animals accommodate and respond to defeats may have important regulatory effects over positive affect, reducing exploration of and engagement with the environment.

PMID:
12167510
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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