Measuring Anhedonia in Adolescents: A Psychometric Analysis

Adam M. Leventhal, Jennifer B. Unger, Janet Audrain-McGovern, Steve Sussman, Heather E. Volk, David R. Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Anhedonia - the reduced capacity to experience pleasure - is a trait implicated in mental and physical health. Yet, psychometric data on anhedonia measures in adolescents are absent. We conducted an in-depth psychometric analysis of the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS; Snaith et al., 1995) - a self-report measure of anticipated pleasure response to 14 pleasant experiences - in adolescents. Adolescents (N = 585, M age = 14.5) completed the SHAPS and other paper-and-pencil surveys. Item response theory models were used to evaluate the psychometric performance of each SHAPS item. Correlations of the SHAPS with other personality and psychopathology measures were calculated to evaluate construct validity. Results showed that (a) certain items (e.g., reported pleasure from basic experiences like "seeing smiling faces" or "smelling flowers") provided more information about latent anhedonia than others; and (b) SHAPS scales exhibited construct-consistent convergent and discriminant validity (i.e., stronger correlations with low positive affect constructs, weaker correlations with negative affect). Reporting diminished pleasure from basic pleasant experiences accurately indicates adolescent anhedonia, which is important for future scale development and understanding the phenomenology of anhedonia in teens. These data support using the SHAPS for assessing anhedonia in epidemiological research and school-based universal prevention programming in general adolescent populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-514
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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