Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Clinical Psychology, PhD



Faculty Advisor

Gabrielle Liverant


Differential patterns of punishment and reward responsivity are found in social anxiety disorder (SAD), which is highly comorbid with major depressive disorder (MDD). Individuals with either SAD or MDD react and respond differently to receipt of punishing and rewarding stimuli compared to healthy controls, suggesting a shared diathesis. Little is known, however, about punishment and reward responsivity in comorbid SAD and MDD compared to MDD-alone. In a sample of 80 veterans with unipolar depression, mixed model repeated measures analyses of variances (ANOVA) were conducted to explore the additive effect of co-occurring SAD and MDD on response bias (RB) in punishment and reward learning. For the punishment task, the SAD group demonstrated greater bias away from the more frequently punished stimuli and slower reaction times (RT). However, the interactions between Block and Group for RB and RT were not significant. For the reward task, no statistically significant main effects or interactions emerged, suggesting a unique effect of comorbid SAD on punishment responsivity in a depressed sample. Implications for etiology, maintenance, and treatment of comorbid SAD and MDD are reviewed as well as future directions for exploring this presentation.

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