, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 643-651,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 17 Nov 2010

Anhedonia is associated with poor health status and more somatic and cognitive symptoms in patients with coronary artery disease

Abstract

Purpose

The effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) is moderated by negative emotions and clinical factors, but no studies evaluated the role of positive emotions. This study examined whether anhedonia (i.e. the lack of positive affect) moderated the effectiveness of CR on health status and somatic and cognitive symptoms.

Methods

CAD patients (n = 368) filled out the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess anhedonia at the start of CR, and the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Health Complaints Scale (HCS) at the start of CR and at 3 months to assess health status and somatic and cognitive symptoms, respectively.

Results

Adjusting for clinical and demographic factors, health status improved significantly during the follow-up (F(1,357) = 10.84, P = .001). Anhedonic patients reported poorer health status compared with non-anhedonic patients, with anhedonia exerting a stable effect over time (F(1,358) = 34.80, P < .001). Somatic and cognitive symptoms decreased over time (F(1,358) = 3.85, P = .05). Anhedonics experienced more benefits in terms of somatic and cognitive symptoms over time (F(1,358) = 13.00, P < .001).

Conclusion

Anhedonic patients reported poorer health status and higher levels of somatic and cognitive symptoms prior to and after CR. Somatic and cognitive symptoms differed as a function of anhedonia over time, but health status did not. Anhedonia might provide a new avenue for secondary prevention in CAD.