Negative Symptoms and Avoidance of Social Interaction: A Study of Non-Verbal Behaviour.
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BACKGROUND: Non-verbal behaviour is fundamental to social interaction. Patients with schizophrenia display an expressivity deficit of non-verbal behaviour, exhibiting behaviour that differs from both healthy subjects and patients with different psychiatric diagnoses. The present study aimed to explore the association between non-verbal behaviour and symptom domains, overcoming methodological shortcomings of previous studies. SAMPLING AND METHODS: Standardised interviews with 63 outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia were videotaped. Symptoms were assessed using the Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms (CAINS), the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the Calgary Depression Scale. Independent raters later analysed the videos for non-verbal behaviour, using a modified version of the Ethological Coding System for Interviews (ECSI). RESULTS: Patients with a higher level of negative symptoms displayed significantly fewer prosocial (e.g., nodding and smiling), gesture, and displacement behaviours (e.g., fumbling), but significantly more flight behaviours (e.g., looking away, freezing). No gender differences were found, and these associations held true when adjusted for antipsychotic medication dosage. CONCLUSIONS: Negative symptoms are associated with both a lower level of actively engaging non-verbal behaviour and an increased active avoidance of social contact. Future research should aim to identify the mechanisms behind flight behaviour, with implications for the development of treatments to improve social functioning.
AuthorsWorswick, E; Dimic, S; Wildgrube, C; Priebe, S
- Centre for Psychiatry