Premorbid, clinical and cognitive correlates of primary negative symptoms in first-episode psychosis

Wing Chung Chang (Corresponding Author), Charles Fu Chun Lau, Sherina Suet In Chan, Christy Lai Ming Hui, Sherry Kit Wa Chan, Edwin Ho Ming Lee, Jingxia Lin, Eric Yu Hai Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Negative symptoms are a core psychopathological dimension of psychotic disorders. Previous research on primary negative symptoms (PNS) mostly focused on chronic samples. Data regarding premorbid, clinical and cognitive correlates of PNS in the early illness course are limited and inconsistent. In this study, we assessed 355 Hong Kong Chinese adult patients presenting with first-episode psychosis (FEP) to early intervention service with an aim to examine the prevalence of PNS and its relationships with premorbid adjustment, clinical and cognitive profiles. PNS was defined as the presence of clinically significant negative symptoms excluding depression, positive symptoms and extrapyramidal signs. Results showed that 14.6% of patients exhibited PNS at service entry. PNS group had poorer premorbid social functioning, lower level of insight, and worse performance in Modified Wisconsin Card Sorting and digit symbol tests than non-PNS group. Logistic regression analysis showed that premorbid social functioning and digit symbol test score were independently associated with PNS. Our findings thus indicate that PNS are frequently observed in FEP patients. Deficits in proceeding speed, alongside impaired premorbid social functioning, might be specifically related to PNS in the early illness stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Digit symbol test
  • First-episode psychosis
  • Premorbid adjustment
  • Primary negative symptoms
  • Processing speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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