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Educational Activity

Tools to Assess Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia

John M. Kane, MD

Published: June 15, 2013

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Find more articles on this and other psychiatry and CNS topics:
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders


Although effective treatments for negative symptoms are currently limited, clinicians still need to assess and monitor them because of their impact on patient functioning. Further, documenting patients’ negative symptoms provides a complete clinical record that the clinician can use to make systematic and careful treatment decisions. Several tools for assessing negative symptoms in schizophrenia are available, including the Clinical Global Impression scale (CGI), the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), the 16-item Negative Symptoms Assessment (NSA-16), and the Schedule for Deficit Syndrome (SDS). Additionally, newer instruments are in development—the Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms (CAINS) and the Brief Negative Symptoms Scale (BNSS)—and are yielding promising results. This overview outlines these assessment tools so that clinicians can measure negative symptom severity and track treatment response for their patients with schizophrenia.

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