Intrinsic Motivation in Schizophrenia: Relationships to Cognitive Function, Depression, Anxiety, and Personality

Deanna M. Barch, Naomi Yodkovik, Hannah Sypher-Locke, Melissa Hanewinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


The goal of the current project was to assess subjective reports of intrinsic motivation and their relationship to cognitive function, mood, and personality in schizophrenia. The authors used the Motivational Trait Questionnaire to examine 3 components of intrinsic motivation (personal mastery, competitive excellence, motivation related to anxiety). They also examined fluid intelligence, context processing, and working memory, as well as self-reports of mood and personal traits related to motivation. Participants were 66 individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 44 healthy controls. Self-reports of personal mastery and competitive excellence did not differ between controls and individuals with schizophrenia, though patients did report significantly higher motivation related to anxiety. Among controls, but not patients, self-reports of intrinsic motivation were strongly related to cognitive performance. In contrast, both controls and patients showed similar strong relationships between self-reports of intrinsic motivation and related measures of mood and personality. These results are not consistent with the hypothesis that motivational deficits in schizophrenia reflect impairments in intrinsic motivation. However, they do suggest that the normal relationship between self-reports of intrinsic motivation and cognitive function is disrupted in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-787
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • emotion
  • functional outcome
  • motivation
  • negative symptoms
  • schizophrenia


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