Concussions are the most common neuropsychological problem in the United States and are associated with sequelae such as cognitive complaints and depression-related symptoms. Recent research suggests that head trauma is associated with anhedonia and that concussions have the potential to damage axons and postsynaptic connections in neural circuits that play a role in reward processing. Anhedonia may be better understood as an overarching construct with multiple subtypes including motivational, decisional, and consummatory. The current study examines the relationship between lifetime concussion history and subtypes of anhedonia using behavioral measures of reward processing: the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task (EEfRT), Probabilistic Reward Task (PRT), and Sweet Taste Test (STT). 62 participants (53.2% women; mean age: 19.19) completed an in-person interview assessing for concussion history followed by administration of the three behavioral tasks. Within participants who reported at least one lifetime concussion, effort expended on the EEfRT when the probability of winning is high, as compared to low, tends to increase the further in time someone reports that their most recent concussion occurred, suggesting that motivational anhedonia may be more apparent in the period of time shortly following a concussion. Conversely, concussion history was not related to performance on the PRT. Furthermore, participants reporting two or more lifetime concussions had, as a group, significantly reduced hedonic slope on the STT than those reporting none, supporting a relationship between consummatory anhedonia and concussion history. Clinical implications are discussed.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
O'Donnell, John, "Lifetime History of Concussions and Behavioral Measures of Anhedonia" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6879.