Depressive symptoms occur frequently in patients with schizophrenia. Several factor analytical studies investigated the associations between positive, negative and depressive symptoms and reported difficulties differentiating between these symptom domains. Here, we argue that a network approach may offer insights into these associations, by exploring interrelations between symptoms. The aims of current study were to I) construct a network of positive, negative and depressive symptoms in male patients with schizophrenia to investigate interactions between individual symptoms; II) identify the most central symptoms within this network and III) examine group-level differences in network connectivity between remitted and non–remitted patients. We computed a network of depressive, positive and negative symptoms in a sample of 470 male patients diagnosed with a psychotic disorder. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Calgary Depression Rating Scale for Schizophrenia, while psychotic symptoms were assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Networks of male patients who fulfilled remission criteria (Andreasen et al., 2005) and non–remitters for psychosis were compared. Our results indicate that depressive symptoms are mostly associated with suicidality and may act as moderator between psychotic symptoms and suicidality. In addition, ‘depressed mood’, ‘observed depression’, ‘poor rapport’, 'stereotyped thinking’ and ‘delusions’ were central symptoms within the network. Finally, although remitted male patients had a similar network structure compared to non-remitters the networks differed significantly in terms of global strength. In conclusion, clinical symptoms of schizophrenia were linked in a stable way, independent of symptomatic remission while the number of connections appears to be dependent on remission status.
Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis investigators (2018). A state-independent network of depressive, negative and positive symptoms in male patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Schizophrenia Research, 193, 232-239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2017.07.035