Negative Symptoms in Depressed and Schizophrenic Patients: How Do They Differ?
J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(8):954-958
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: The present study evaluated
differences in negative symptoms between schizophrenic and
depressive patients and investigated whether a consideration of
the nature of negative symptoms (enduring vs. nonenduring) can
help to improve their specificity for schizophrenia.
Method: Patients enrolled in the study were
consecutively hospitalized with an acute exacerbation of
schizophrenia (N = 33) or major depressive disorder (N = 43)
(DSM-IV). Negative and depressive symptoms were assessed with the
Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) and the
Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, respectively. Duration
of negative symptoms was assessed through a semistructured
interview with the patients and their closest relatives. On the
basis of the assessed duration of symptoms, negative symptoms
were categorized as enduring or nonenduring.
Results: Analyses revealed high SANS ratings for
both diagnostic groups. Negative symptoms in depressive patients
(p = .01), but not in schizophrenic patients, were significantly
associated with the presence or the emergence of depressive
symptoms. The prevalence of enduring negative symptoms was
significantly higher in schizophrenic patients than in depressive
patients (p < .01). A consideration of enduring negative
symptoms significantly increased the discriminative power of
negative symptoms for schizophrenia (p = .02).
Conclusion: The present findings suggest that
negative symptoms in most depressive patients are just an
epiphenomenon of depressive symptoms and can be distinguished
from schizophrenic negative symptoms.