Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Meghan McDevitt-Murphy

Committee Member

James Murphy

Committee Member

Nicholas Simon

Committee Member

Robert Dvorak


Anhedonia, or deficits in reward functioning (i.e., low motivation to seek out, or impaired capacity to derive pleasure from rewards) has been associated with worse outcomes among individuals with PTSD (e.g., greater functional impairment, worse quality of life, and greater risk of suicide). Studies of the relationship between anhedonia, PTSD, and their sequelae, however, have been limited. Few studies have comprehensively examined the nuanced components of reward function: hedonic pleasure (i.e., “liking” rewards) and reward motivation (i.e., “wanting” and approaching rewards). Moreover, reward availability (i.e., accessibility of rewards in one’s environment) appears to play a particularly important role in the relationship between reward function and PTSD, but has been largely absent from the literature. Thus, the present study examined relationships between PTSD, hedonic pleasure, reward motivation, reward availability, functional impairment, and suicidal ideation in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, in a sample of 70 combat-exposed post-9/11 veterans. Data were collected using multiple assessment timepoints and a three-week period of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) with multiple prompts per day. Results indicated that hedonic pleasure and reward availability were related to PTSD severity cross-sectionally at baseline. Hedonic pleasure alone, however was related to PTSD severity in EMA. None of our EMA reward functioning variables predicted PTSD severity at follow-up. Reward motivation was, however, related to psychosocial functional impairment at follow-up. Findings across multiple analyses suggest need for improvement in measurement of reward availability. Together, these findings offer initial evidence of important relationships between anhedonia, PTSD and other trauma sequelae, but improved measurement may be beneficial.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Embargoed until 2024-01-05