Threat Responses in Schizophrenia: A Negative Valence Systems Framework

Brandee Feola, Alexandra B. Moussa-Tooks, Julia M. Sheffield, Stephan Heckers, Neil D. Woodward, Jennifer U. Blackford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Emotions are prominent in theories and accounts of schizophrenia but are largely understudied compared to cognition. Utilizing the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Negative Valence Systems framework, we review the current knowledge of emotions in schizophrenia. Given the pivotal role of threat responses in theories of schizophrenia and the substantial evidence of altered threat responses, we focus on three components of Negative Valence Systems tied to threat responses: responses to acute threat, responses to potential threat, and sustained threat. Recent Findings: Individuals with schizophrenia show altered responses to neutral stimuli during acute threat, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis connectivity in response to potential threat, and threat responses associated with sustained threat. Summary: Our review concludes that Negative Valence Systems are altered in schizophrenia; however, the level and evidence of alterations vary across the types of threat responses. We suggest avenues for future research to further understand and intervene on threat responses in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-25
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Psychosis
  • RDoC
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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