Self-Reported Stress and the Deficit Syndrome of Schizophrenia

Alex S. Cohen, Nancy M. Docherty, Tasha Nienow, Thomas Dinzeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


GENERALLY speaking, schizophrenia is not associated with diminished positive and negative emotions. Even patients with negative symptoms such as blunted affect have generally not differed in their levels of self-reported emotionality compared to patients without negative symptoms. However, there is evidence to suggest that a subgroup of patients with negative symptoms, those with the deficit syndrome, have a diminished capacity to experience positive and negative emotions. The present study examined whether ratings of the deficit and negative syndrome were associated with lower levels of self-reported stress during a laboratory-based, emotion-induction manipulation. Thirty-six participants with schizophrenia were asked to produce separate affectively positive and affectively negative narratives. Immediately following each narrative, participants were asked to report the level of stress they had experienced while recounting their memories. The deficit syndrome ratings, analyzed in a continuous and a categorical manner, were associated with lower levels of self-reported stress in the affectively negative condition. Moreover, the deficit and negative syndrome ratings significantly differed in their associations to levels of self-reported stress during both tasks, supporting the notion that there are appreciable differences between the two syndromes. Given that stress has been an essential component in conceptualizations of schizophrenia onset and relapse, the possibility of stress-resistant properties associated with the deficit syndrome should be tested in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-316
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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