Youth at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis often demonstrate significant negative symptoms, which have been reported to be predictive of conversion to psychosis and a reduced quality of life but treatment options for negative symptoms remain inadequate. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and network meta-analysis of all intervention studies examining negative symptom outcomes in youth at CHR for psychosis.


The authors searched PsycINFO, Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and EBM from inception to December 2016. Studies were selected if they included any intervention that reported follow-up negative symptoms in youth at CHR for psychosis. Treatment comparisons were evaluated using both pairwise and network meta-analyses. Due to the differences in negative symptom scales the effect sizes were reported as the standardized mean difference (SMD).


Of 3027 citations, 32 studies met our inclusion criteria, including a total of 2463 CHR participants. The null hypothesis was not rejected for any of the 11 treatments. N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptor (NMDAR) modulators trended toward a significant reduction in negative symptoms compared to placebo (SMD = −0.54; 95% CI = −1.09 to 0.02; I2 = 0%, P = .06). In respective order of descending effectiveness as per the treatment hierarchy, NMDAR modulators were more effective than family therapy, need-based interventions, risperidone, amisulpride, cognitive behavioral therapy, omega-3, olanzapine, supportive therapy, and integrated psychological interventions.


Efficacy and effectiveness were not confirmed for any negative symptom treatment. Many studies had small samples and the majority were not designed to target negative symptoms.

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