An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Trial of Personalized Lifestyle Advice and Tandem Skydives as a Means to Reduce Anhedonia disorder


Anhedonia is a major public health concern and has proven particularly difficult to counteract. It has been hypothesized that anhedonia can be deterred by engagement in rewarding social and physical events. The aims of the present study were to examine (1) the effects of personalized lifestyle advice based on observed individual patterns of lifestyle factors and experienced pleasure in anhedonic young adults; and (2) whether a tandem skydive can enhance the motivation to carry out the recommended lifestyle changes. Participants (N = 69; Mage = 21.5, SD = 2.0; 79.7% female) were selected through an online screening survey among young adults. Inclusion criteria were persistent anhedonia and willingness to perform a tandem skydive. Participants filled out questionnaires on their smartphones for 2 consecutive months (3 times per day). After the first month, they were randomly assigned to one of three groups (1) no intervention, (2) lifestyle advice, and (3) lifestyle advice and tandem skydive. The momentary questionnaire data were analyzed using interrupted time series analyses (ITSA) in a multilevel model and monthly pleasure and depression questionnaires by repeated measures ANOVA. No group differences were found in monthly depression and pleasure scores, but the momentary data showed higher positive affect (PA) and pleasure ratings in the month following the intervention in the two intervention groups than in the control group. The tandem skydive did not have any effects above the effects of the lifestyle advice. Our results indicate that providing personalized lifestyle advice to anhedonic young adults can be an effective way to increase PA and pleasure.

Behavior Therapy
Vera E. Heininga
Vera E. Heininga

Researcher at University of Groningen