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Social anhedonia and work and social functioning in the acute and recovered phases of eating disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Amy Harrison, Victoria A Mountford, Kate Tchanturia

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-194
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2014

King's Authors


Interpersonal difficulties are proposed to maintain eating disorders (EDs). This study explored whether social anhedonia (SA) was an additional social emotional maintenance factor which might also explain work/social problems in EDs. Additionally, the study explored SA and work and social adjustment in recovered participants. Women with anorexia nervosa (AN; n=105), bulimia nervosa (BN; n=46), recovered from AN (RAN; n=30) and non-ED controls (n=136) completed the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS) and the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale. ED participants reported greater SA and WSAS scores than non-ED controls; the RAN group reported an intermediate profile. AN participants had poorer work/social adjustment than BN participants. SA was associated with longer illness duration. SA, current severity (BMI) and lifetime severity (lowest adult BMI) significantly predicted work/social difficulties. Recovered participants scoring in the clinical range for SA experienced significantly greater work/social difficulties than recovered participants scoring outside the clinical range for SA. EDs are associated with clinical levels of SA and poor work/social functioning which reduce in recovery. SA may maintain the interpersonal functioning difficulties.

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