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A transdiagnostic network analysis of motivation and pleasure, expressivity and social functioning


Negative symptoms, comprising the motivation and pleasure (MAP) factor and the expressivity (EXP) factor, are key determinants of social functioning in schizophrenia (SCZ). Although negative symptoms are also found in major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD), it remains unclear whether the two factors would have different impacts on social functioning from a transdiagnostic perspective. Here we adopt network analysis to examine the inter-relationship pattern between the MAP and EXP factors, social functioning and other clinical characteristics in 192 patients with SCZ, 67 patients with BD and 92 patients with MDD. The results show that the MAP factor is the central node in the transdiagnostic network at symptom-domain and symptom-item levels. The MAP factor is closely connected to social functioning and makes a greater contribution to the variance explained for social functioning. These findings support that the MAP factor is the core symptom in determining social functioning across different psychiatric disorders.

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Fig. 1: Transdiagnostic flow network and centrality estimates of the transdiagnostic symptom-domain network.
Fig. 2: Transdiagnostic network and centrality estimates of the transdiagnostic symptom-item network.
Fig. 3: Regularized partial correlation ‘symptom-domain’ network of the three clinical groups.

Data availability

The minimum anonymous data that support the findings of this study are available upon reasonable request from R.C.K.C. or Z.-H.Y. The participants did not consent to the sharing of the raw data to the public.

Code availability

R scripts are provided in Supplementary Information.


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L.H., Z.-H.Y. and R.C.K.C. were supported by the Jiangsu Provincial Key Research and Development Program (BE2020661). R.C.K.C. was also supported by the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Scientific Foundation of the Institute of Psychology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (E2CX3415CX), the Science Foundation of Shanghai Mental Health Centre (SMHCRSD01) and the Philip K. H. Wong Foundation. The funding agents had no role in study design, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

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Authors and Affiliations



H.-X.H. contributed to study design, data analysis and interpretation, and drafting and revision of the paper. C.L. and J.-B.Z. contributed to data collection and the interpretation of findings. L.-L.W., M.-Y.C. and S.-B.L. contributed to data interpretation and drafting of the paper. Q.-Y.L. contributed to the supervision of data collection and interpretation of the findings. S.S.Y.L. and L.H. contributed to data interpretation and paper revision. Z.-H.Y. contributed to study conceptualization, the supervision of data collection and interpretation and paper revision. R.C.K.C. contributed to study conceptualization, study design, data interpretation and paper revision.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Zheng-hui Yi or Raymond C. K. Chan.

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Nature Mental Health thanks Chi C. Chan, David E. Gard and William Horan for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Methods, Results, Tables 1–6, Figs. 1–6 and References.

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Hu, Hx., Liu, C., Zhang, Jb. et al. A transdiagnostic network analysis of motivation and pleasure, expressivity and social functioning. Nat. Mental Health 1, 586–595 (2023).

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