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15-12-2009 | Mental health | Article

Lack of motivation linked to schizophrenia functional outcomes


Free abstract

MedWire News: The link between negative symptoms and functional impairment in schizophrenia patients appears to be mediated by lack of motivation, concludes a team of Canadian researchers.

Negative symptoms represent a core component of schizophrenia and studies have consistently revealed significant relationships between negative symptoms and functional outcomes. However, the specific symptoms that contribute to functional outcomes have not been investigated.

George Foussias, from the University of Toronto in Ontario, and colleagues therefore studied 21 schizophrenia patients aged an average age of 39.5 years and with an average illness duration of 13.7 years.

The team administered the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms, the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), the Apathy Evaluation Scale – Clinician version (AES), the Temporal Experience of Pleasure Scale, the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia, the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia, and the Quality of Life Scale (QLS).

The results, published in the journal Schizophrenia Research, revealed that amotivation on both the AES and SANS was a highly significant predictor of functional status, accounting for 74% of the variance in QLS scores, with amotivation on the AES accounting for 62% of the variance, and SANS amotivation accounting for a further 12%.

Interestingly, the researchers found that other symptom measures did not significantly contribute to the prediction of functional status additionally to motivation deficits.

They write: “The results of the present study suggest that motivational deficits serve as the central link between negative symptoms and poor functioning in schizophrenia.”

Foussias et al conclude: “In the ongoing search for strategies to alter the longitudinal course and functional outcome of schizophrenia, the present findings suggest that increased focus on motivational deficits is necessary to effect these changes.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Liam Davenport

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