Autism symptoms, depression, and active social avoidance in schizophrenia: Association with self-reports and informant assessments of everyday functioning

Philip D Harvey, Elizabeth Deckler, Mackenzie T. Jones, L. Fredrik Jarskog, David L. Penn, Amy E. Pinkham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Autistic traits are a feature of schizophrenia and has been found to impair social functioning and social cognition. Other influences on social outcomes in schizophrenia include depression and social avoidance. However, challenges in self-assessment of abilities and functioning (i.e., introspective accuracy)and self-assessment bias also contribute to disability. Depression has been studied for its association with introspective accuracy and bias, but autistic traits have not. Participants were 177 patients with schizophrenia who self-reported their everyday functioning and social cognitive ability as well as their depression. All were rated with the PANSS and a separate rater generated all-sources ratings of everyday functioning and social cognitive ability. Correlations between self-reported everyday functioning and social cognitive ability, ratings of everyday functioning and social cognitive ability, and the discrepancies between those ratings were examined for correlations with depression, autistic features and social avoidance. Accuracy was defined by the absolute value of the difference between self-reports and all-sources ratings and bias was defined by the direction of discrepancy (positive vs. negative). There was a statistically significant difference between sources on every measure. Bias was not directional on average, but patients with the lowest levels of depression overestimated their abilities on every measure and those with the highest depression underestimated. Autistic traits were associated with impairments in everyday functioning and underestimation of those impairments, while social avoidance was associated with impaired social functioning and accurate self-assessment. Features of schizophrenia have differential implications for impaired functioning and self-assessment, with autistic features and low levels of depression associated with consistent self-assessment biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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