The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) evaluates different psychopathological aspects of schizophrenic patients. Scores on the negative subscale of the PANSS have been associated with clinical and neuropsychological differences in these patients. Our aim was to study the relationship between PANSS negative scores and different clinical and neuropsychological variables in a sample of schizophrenic patients.
Our sample of 174 schizophrenic patients was split into two groups according to scores on the negative subscale of the PANSS: a group of 85 patients (55 male and 30 female; mean age 38.0 years, SD 9.3) with scores below the median (“low negative PANSS” group), and a group of 89 patients (58 male and 31 female; mean age 37.3, SD 8.4) with scores above the median (“high negative PANSS” group). The neuropsychological task used was the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.
Significant clinical differences were found between both groups. In the “high negative PANSS” group a lower age of illness onset was found (p=0.030), as well as a lower age at first psychiatric admission (p=0.002) compared to the “low negative PANSS” group, without there being significant differences in current age (p=0.570). Regarding cognitive functions, “high negative PANSS” patients achieved fewer categories (p=0.005) and made more perseverative errors (p=0.031) than “low negative PANSS” patients.
Schizophrenic patients with higher scores on the negative subscale of the PANSS had an earlier age of onset of their illness and exhibited poorer cognitive functioning than patients with lower scores.