The COVID-19 pandemic has spiked stress-related symptoms worldwide . This study aims to assess depressive symptoms related to the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak among the Italian general population and to analyze anhedonia and emotion dysregulation as potential predictors of depression severity . Through an online questionnaire, we collected sociodemographic and lockdown-related information; depressive symptoms, hedonic tone, and emotion dysregulation were assessed through the Beck Depression Inventory II, the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale, and the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, respectively . In our sample (n = 500), 122 individuals (24.4 %) reported depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 outbreak . Individuals with and without depression differed in gender (X2 = 4.77, df = 1, p = 0.02) and age (X2 = 15.7, df = 4, p = 0.003). Among individuals presenting with depressive symptoms, those reporting close contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were at higher risk for severe depression (p = 0.026). Reduced hedonic tone (p = 0.014) and emotion dysregulation (p <0.001) also predicted depression severity . To the best of our knowledge, these are among the earliest data that focus on the risk for depression among a sizeable sample of the Italian general population during the COVID-19 outbreak . Our results indicate emotion dysregulation and reduced hedonic tone as potential factors predicting COVID-19-related depression severity and provide insight into developing targeted intervention policies.