Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Additional Affiliations

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Pleasure and displeasure can be parsed into anticipatory and consummatory phases. However, existing research on pleasure and displeasure in major depressive disorder (MDD), a disorder characterized by anhedonia, has largely focused on deficits in the consummatory phase and most studies have been laboratory-based. Using experience sampling, we compared anticipatory and consummatory pleasure and displeasure for activities in the daily lives of adults with MDD (n = 41) and in healthy controls (n = 39). Participants carried electronic devices for one week and were randomly prompted eight times a day to answer questions about activities that they most and least looked forward to. Compared to healthy controls, MDD participants reported lower anticipatory and consummatory pleasure and higher anticipatory and consummatory displeasure for daily activities. Additionally, participants’ experiences of anticipatory and consummatory pleasure in daily life were inversely related to trait levels of anticipatory and consummatory anhedonia, respectively. Participants, independent of MDD status, accurately predicted pleasure but overestimated displeasure. These results are the first to provide evidence that, across both anticipatory and consummatory phases, people with MDD experience blunted pleasure and elevated displeasure for daily activities. Our findings clarify disturbances in pleasure and displeasure that characterize MDD, which should inform MDD treatment.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Renee J. Thompson

Committee Members

Deanna M. Barch, Todd S. Braver


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