Investigating the relationship between specific negative symptoms and metacognitive functioning in psychosis: A systematic review

Nicola McGuire, Andrew Gumley, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Stephanie Allan, Warut Aunjitsakul, Orkun Aydin, Sune Bo, Kelsey A. Bonfils, Anna Lena Bröcker, Steven de Jong, Giancarlo Dimaggio, Felix Inchausti, Jens Einar Jansen, Tania Lecomte, Lauren Luther, Angus MacBeth, Christiane Montag, Marlene Buch Pedersen, Gerdina Henrika Maria Pijnenborg, Raffaele PopoloMatthias Schwannauer, Anne Marie Trauelsen, Rozanne van Donkersgoed, Weiming Wu, Kai Wang, Paul H. Lysaker, Hamish McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Disrupted metacognition is implicated in development and maintenance of negative symptoms, but more fine-grained analyses would inform precise treatment targeting for individual negative symptoms. Aims: This systematic review identifies and examines datasets that test whether specific metacognitive capacities distinctly influence negative symptoms. Materials & Methods: PsycINFO, EMBASE, Medline and Cochrane Library databases plus hand searching of relevant articles, journals and grey literature identified quantitative research investigating negative symptoms and metacognition in adults aged 16+ with psychosis. Authors of included articles were contacted to identify unique datasets and missing information. Data were extracted for a risk of bias assessment using the Quality in Prognostic Studies tool. Results: 85 published reports met criteria and are estimated to reflect 32 distinct datasets and 1623 unique participants. The data indicated uncertainty about the relationship between summed scores of negative symptoms and domains of metacognition, with significant findings indicating correlation coefficients from 0.88 to −0.23. Only eight studies investigated the relationship between metacognition and individual negative symptoms, with mixed findings. Studies were mostly moderate-to-low risk of bias. Discussion: The relationship between negative symptoms and metacognition is rarely the focus of studies reviewed here, and negative symptom scores are often summed. This approach may obscure relationships between metacognitive domains and individual negative symptoms which may be important for understanding how negative symptoms are developed and maintained. Conlclusion: Methodological challenges around overlapping participants, variation in aggregation of negative symptom items and types of analyses used, make a strong case for use of Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis to further elucidate these relationships.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
Early online date21 Oct 2023
StateE-pub ahead of print - 21 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The British Psychological Society.


  • anhedonia
  • apathy
  • metacognition
  • psychosis
  • schizophrenia


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