Apathy and impulse control disorders (ICD) are common comorbid motivational syndromes in Parkinson disease (PD). This study aimed to determine if patients with these motivational disturbances exhibit different patterns of anhedonia and trait impulsivity.
Sixty-four non-demented patients with PD completed questionnaires assessing apathy and ICD symptoms, which were used to classify participants into one of the following groups: apathy only, ICD only, both, and neither. Participants also completed multidimensional measures of anhedonia and trait impulsivity, which were compared across groups defined by motivational status.
Individuals with both apathy and ICD had significantly greater symptoms of positive and negative urgency than all other groups and had significantly greater consummatory anhedonia and lack of premeditation and perseverance than those with ICD only and neither. Patients with apathy only also reported significantly greater anticipatory anhedonia than those with ICD only and the neither group. There were no significant between-group differences in sensation seeking.
Distinct patterns of impulsivity and anhedonia characterize unique behavioral phenotypes of motivational disturbances in PD and may reflect important differences in the underlying neurobiological mechanisms. Clinicians should be aware that motivational disturbances may be more severe in cases where apathy co-occurs with one or more ICD.