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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Aug 30;209(1):21-6. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.03.020. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Negative symptom improvement during cognitive rehabilitation: results from a 2-year trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, 2117 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


Cognitive rehabilitation has shown beneficial effects on cognition in patients with schizophrenia, which may also help to improve negative symptoms due to overlapping pathophysiology between these two domains. To better understand the possible relationship between these areas, we conducted an exploratory analysis of the effects of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) on negative symptoms. Early course schizophrenia outpatients (n=58) were randomized to 2 years of CET or an Enriched Supportive Therapy (EST) control condition. Results revealed significant and medium-sized (d=0.61) differential improvements favoring CET in overall negative symptoms, particularly social withdrawal, affective flattening, and motor retardation. Neurocognitive improvement was associated with reduced negative symptoms in CET, but not EST patients. No relationships were observed between improvements in emotion processing aspects of social cognition, as measured by the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, and negative symptoms. CET represents an effective cognitive rehabilitation intervention for schizophrenia that may also have benefits to negative symptoms. Future studies specifically designed to examine negative symptoms during the course of cognitive rehabilitation are needed.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Cognitive rehabilitation; Negative symptoms; Neurocognition; Psychosocial treatment; Schizophrenia; Social cognition

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