Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Winer, E. Samuel

Committee Member

Keeley, Jared W.

Committee Member

Nadorff, Michael R.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


A primary symptom of depression is anhedonia, or the loss of interest or pleasure. Anhedonic individuals can have deficits in anticipatory pleasure (‘wanting’ things) or consummatory pleasure (‘liking’ things). Depressed individuals generally have deficits in anticipatory but not consummatory pleasure. A possible buffer against anticipatory anhedonia is action orientation, or the ability to upregulate positive affect in pursuit of goals when stressed. To examine the relationship between stress, action/state orientation, and anhedonia, highly anhedonic individuals who were either action- or state-oriented underwent a demanding mood induction, and completed the Effort-Expenditure for Reward Task, a measure of motivation for reward. Evidence did not support action orientation as a buffer; however, individuals who showed fluctuation in self-reported motivation were less motivated to work for reward. Evidence emerged suggesting that fluctuation in motivation over time may predict less willingness to work. Future research can examine the relationship between variability in motivation and depression.