Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Schizophrenia: negative symptoms and poorer outcomes

As well as the so-called 'positive' symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, delusions and unusual thoughts there are also a number of 'negative' symptoms which are marked by the absence of things rather than their presence. These negative symptoms can include things such as a reduction in the ability to express emotion, experience pleasure, initiate activities and follow through with a course of action and are now seen as just as damaging as 'positive' symptoms. Previous research has shown that people with high levels of negative symptoms and poor attention can suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of 'internalised stigma.' A team of researchers from Indiana University studied 77 people with schizophrenia to see how they got on over a period of five months. They found that those who had high levels of negative symptoms and poor attention were significantly more likely to have poorer social functioning, lower self-esteem, higher anxiety and a higher preference for ignoring problems rather than tackling them.

Tsai, Jack, Lysaker, Paul H. and Vohs, Jenifer L. - Negative symptoms and concomitant attention deficits in schizophrenia: associations with prospective assessments of anxiety, social dysfunction and avoidant coping Journal of Mental Health April 2010, 19(2), 184-192

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