Elis O, Caponigro JM, Kring AM
Clin Psychol Rev 2013 Dec;33(8):914-28
Schizophrenia can be a chronic and debilitating psychiatric disorder. Though advancements have been made in the psychosocial treatment of some symptoms of schizophrenia, people with schizophrenia often continue to experience some level of symptoms, particularly negative symptoms, throughout their lives. Because negative symptoms are associated with poor functioning and quality of life, the treatment of negative symptoms is a high priority for intervention development. However, current psychosocial treatments primarily focus on the reduction of positive symptoms with comparatively few studies investigating the efficacy of psychosocial treatments for negative symptoms. In this article, we review and evaluate the existing literature on three categories of psychosocial treatments - cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), social skills training (SST), and combined treatment interventions - and their impact on the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Of the interventions reviewed, CBT and SST appear to have the most empirical support, with some evidence suggesting that CBT is associated with maintenance of negative symptom improvement beyond six months after treatment. It remains unclear if a combined treatment approach provides improvements above and beyond those associated with each individual treatment modality. Although psychosocial treatments show promise for the treatment of negative symptoms, there are many unanswered questions about how best to intervene. We conclude with a general discussion of these unanswered questions, future directions and methodological considerations, and suggestions for the further development of negative symptom interventions.