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Avolition is a psychological state characterized by general lack of drive to perform activities or pursue meaningful goals. A person may show little participation in work or have little interest in socializing. They may sit still for long periods of time.[1] It is commonly seen in patients with schizophrenia, and is one of the five main "negative" symptoms of that disorder, the others being flat affect, alogia, anhedonia, and asociality.[2] It is also one of the predominant symptoms of clinical depression. It is sometimes mistaken for disinterest, anhedonia and amotivation, but is distinct. People with avolition may want to complete certain tasks but lack the ability to initiate behaviours necessary to complete them. Literally meaning "poverty of will," it is a restriction in the initiation of activity, including, but not limited to, goal directed behavior. In contrast, abulia (poverty of motivation) - is a restriction in will or motivation, often characterized by an inability to set goals or make decisions.

In the DSM-IV-TR, avolition is mentioned as one of the possible symptoms of schizophrenia.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV TR) 4th edition. USA: American Psychiatric Association.
  2. ^ Meadows G., Singh, B., & Griggs, M. (2007). Mental Health in Australia, Collaborative Community Practice 2nd Ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Chapter 25, p539.
  3. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2997909/