Categorizing and assessing negative symptoms

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To provide a review on studies published in the last year relevant to the categorization and assessment of negative symptoms.

Recent findings

Recent research supported the validity of the ‘deficit/non-deficit schizophrenia’ categorization. Few studies confirmed the validity of the category ‘persistent negative symptoms’, whereas no recent study explored the validity of the category ‘predominant negative symptoms’. The two-factor structure of the negative dimension is supported by studies reporting different correlates for the two subdomains: diminished expression and avolition/apathy. The need to further split avolition/apathy in two distinct components, that is anhedonia and amotivation, is confirmed in recent papers. Additional approaches to the assessment of negative symptoms have been proposed, including the self-assessment of negative symptoms, and the evaluation of negative symptoms in daily life and their assessment by means of computerized analyses.

Summary

Negative symptoms represent an unmet need in the care of schizophrenia, as they are associated to poor response to available treatments and to poor functional outcome. Their accurate categorization and assessment represent a major challenge for research on neurobiological substrates and new treatment strategies.

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