Using the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS) to define different domains of negative symptoms: Prediction of everyday functioning by impairments in emotional expression and emotional experience

Philip D Harvey, Anzalee Khan, Richard S.E. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Background: Reduced emotional experience and expression are two domains of negative symptoms. The authors assessed these two domains of negative symptoms using previously developed Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) factors. Using an existing dataset, the authors predicted three different elements of everyday functioning (social, vocational, and everyday activities) with these two factors, as well as with performance on measures of functional capacity. Methods: A large (n=630) sample of people with schizophrenia was used as the data source of this study. Using regression analyses, the authors predicted the three different aspects of everyday functioning, first with just the two Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale factors and then with a global negative symptom factor. Finally, we added neurocognitive performance and functional capacity as predictors. Results: The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale reduced emotional experience factor accounted for 21 percent of the variance in everyday social functioning, while reduced emotional expression accounted for no variance. The total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale negative symptom factor accounted for less variance (19%) than the reduced experience factor alone. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale expression factor accounted for, at most, one percent of the variance in any of the functional outcomes, with or without the addition of other predictors. Implications: Reduced emotional experience measured with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, often referred to as “avolition and anhedonia,” specifically predicted impairments in social outcomes. Further, reduced experience predicted social impairments better than emotional expression or the total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale negative symptom factor. In this cross-sectional study, reduced emotional experience was specifically related with social outcomes, accounting for essentially no variance in work or everyday activities, and being the sole meaningful predictor of impairment in social outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-22
Number of pages5
JournalInnovations in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • Negative symptoms factor analysis
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this