Schizophrenia-spectrum Behavior and Peer Responses to Individuals with Social Anhedonia

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Individuals with social anhedonia experience difficulties in several domains including social interaction, cognition, psychophysiological abnormalities, and poor long-term functional outcomes. These individuals also exhibit high levels of behaviors of schizoidia and schizotypy in comparison to healthy controls. This study aimed to examine behavior related to schizoidia and schizotypy, their longitudinal stability and whether these behaviors are related to social functioning. For the first time, this research moves beyond self-report data and evaluates how peers respond to individuals with social anhedonia in a brief time frame. The current study utilized a psychometric high-risk sample of individuals with social anhedonia and healthy controls that participated in a three year longitudinal study and examined the stability of the sample's schizoid and schizotypal behaviors. Further, this study investigated peer reactions to these individuals as well as the relationship between peer reactions and schizoid and schizotypal behaviors. Individuals with social anhedonia demonstrated higher levels of both schizoid and schizotypal behavior at the baseline period, as expected. These differences persisted into the follow-up assessment for schizoid behavior, but not for schizotypal behavior. Peers reported that they were less willing to interact with individuals with social anhedonia and that these individuals were less likable, less friendly and more odd than healthy controls at both the baseline and three-year follow-up period. Further, in regression analyses several patterns emerged to suggest that schizoid behaviors explain a significant amount of variance in these peer responses. This study is the first study to examine the relationship between schizophrenia-spectrum behaviors and peer responses in individuals with social anhedonia and healthy controls.