Negative symptoms have long been considered a core component of schizophrenia. Modern conceptualizations of the structure of negative symptoms posit that there are at least two broad dimensions (motivation and pleasure and diminished expression) or perhaps five separable domains (avolition, anhedonia, asociality, blunted affect, alogia). The current review synthesizes a body of emerging research indicating that avolition may have a special place among these dimensions, as it is generally associated with poorer outcomes and may have distinct neurobiological mechanisms. Network analytic findings also indicate that avolition is highly central and interconnected with the other negative symptom domains in schizophrenia, and successfully remediating avolition results in global improvement in the entire constellation of negative symptoms. Avolition may therefore reflect the most critical treatment target within the negative symptom construct. Implications for targeted treatment development and clinical trial design are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health