Abstract

Objective: Negative symptoms of schizophrenia have been shown to be moderately associated with neuropsychological impairment in schizophrenia. Although two dimensions of negative symptoms have been consistently identified, motivational impairment and diminished emotional expression, it is currently unclear whether these dimensions differentially contribute to cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. Method: The current study examined the relative contributions of motivational and diminished emotional expressivity dimensions of negative symptoms to neuropsychological impairment across two experiments. Experiment 1 included 73 individuals with schizophrenia who completed the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) and the Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome (SDS). Experiment 2 included 102 individuals with schizophrenia who completed the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and the Brief Negative Symptom Scale (BNSS). Results: In both experiments, a 2-factor solution was found for the negative symptom scales, reflecting motivational impairment and diminished emotional expression. In Experiment 1, the motivational dimension accounted for 8% of variance in RBANS total performance. In Experiment 2, the motivational dimension accounted for 16% of variance in MCCB total scores. Conclusion(s): Neuropsychological impairment is critically linked to negative symptoms in schizophrenia; this association is primarily driven by motivational symptoms.