Anhedonia is a serious symptom that has been studied as part of many neuropsychiatric disorders. It is described as the reduced ability to feel pleasure. Most importantly it is a significant marker of Major Depressive Disorder, but can be associated with schizophrenia, substance abuse and others. Research has been carried out investigating the neuroanatomical base of anhedonia and it was concluded that the severity of anhedonia correlates to impairments in the ventral striatum and nucleus accumbens and hyperactivity in some regions of the prefrontal cortex strongly associated with dopamine (Gorwood, 2008).

In order to assess anhedonia, there are many possibilities that can be used. Throughout the years there have been many scales developed that would examine the patient’s experience. Although they prove to be very useful, the best option is to combine these methods with neuroimaging to associate the abnormalities with the underlying impairments in the brain. There are four commonly used self-questionnaires, namingly the Fawcett-Clark Pleasure Capacity Scale, the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale, Revised Chapman Physical Anhedonia Scale and the Chapman Social Anhedonia Scale (Rizvi et al., 2016).

Anhedonia: Symptoms, Treatment, and More

Fawcett-Clark Pleasure Capacity Scale

This questionnaire examines the participants’ current state associated with hedonic experiences. It consists of 36-items, measured in a 5-point Likert scale (from No pleasure at all to Extreme pleasure). All the phrases are formulated in the same way, meaning that there are no revised items, the final score can be derived by summing all scores together. It has overall good psychometric properties and it can be used to differentiate depressed and non-depressed subjects. Example: “You sit watching a beautiful sunset in an isolated, untouched part of the world” (Leventhal et al., 2006). 

Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale

It is a much shorter questionnaire containing only 14 items assessing hedonic experiences in pleasurable situations. There are 4 response possibilities from Extremely disagree to Extremely agree. The responses are based on the last few days’ experience. Results come from the sum of all items. Example: “I would enjoy my favorite television or radio program” (Leventhal et al., 2006).

Revised Chapman Physical Anhedonia Scale

This third scale is in many ways different from the previous two. The respondents are asked to answer based on their experience throughout their lifetime rather than a more specific event. Furthermore, there are only two options to answer, true or false. Also, on the contrary from the FCPS and the SHAPS, this questionnaire has revised items that could increase validity. It includes 61 items, so it is significantly longer, examining not only hedonic experiences, but also interest in activities. Example: “The sound of rustling leaves has never much pleased me” (Leventhal et al., 2006).


Gorwood, P. (2008). Neurobiological mechanisms of anhedonia. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 10(3), 291–299.

Leventhal, A. M., Chasson, G. S., Tapia, E., Miller, E. K., & Pettit, J. W. (2006). Measuring hedonic capacity in depression: a psychometric analysis of three anhedonia scales. Journal of clinical psychology, 62(12), 1545–1558.

Rizvi, S. J., Pizzagalli, D. A., Sproule, B. A., & Kennedy, S. H. (2016). Assessing anhedonia in depression: Potentials and pitfalls. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 65, 21-35.

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