The role of anhedonia in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), alcohol use disorder symptoms, and food addiction symptoms in a sample of emerging adults with histories of heavy drinking. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Previous research has shown that (ACEs) are associated with negative health outcomes, including depression, problematic alcohol use, and disordered patterns of overeating, including food addiction (FA). Moreover, anhedonia, or an inability to feel pleasure, has been also shown to increase risk for problematic alcohol use, as well as FA. It is possible that anhedonia may be implicated in health risk behaviors as individuals with anhedonia may seek out highly hedonic activities. The purpose of the present study was to explore the direct and indirect relationship between ACEs and alcohol use disorder (AUD) and FA symptoms via anhedonia in a diverse sample of emerging adults with histories of heavy drinking. A cross-sectional, quantitative design was used. The sample was 42.6% male, 45.5% White, and 39.9% Black, and the average age of participants was 22.64 (SD = 1.01). A confirmatory factor analysis was used to specify the model, and structural equation modeling was used to test the hypotheses. The initial measurement model was overidentified and demonstrated acceptable to favorable fit. Standardized results from a bootstrap analysis of the structural regression model showed significant direct effects of ACEs on FA and AUD symptoms. Results also found a significant indirect effect of ACEs on AUD symptoms through anhedonia, though this indirect effect was not significant for FA. Anhedonia could be a key target for the prevention and treatment of problematic alcohol use. Future research should examine the role of anhedonia in the maintenance of FA in nonheavy drinking samples. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).


  • Takgbajouah, Mary
  • Barnes, Nate
  • MacKillop, James
  • Murphy, James G
  • Buscemi, Joanna

publication date

  • December 21, 2023