Communication abnormalities predict functional outcomes in chronic schizophrenia: Differential associations with social and adaptive functions

Christopher R. Bowie, Philip D. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Communication abnormalities are hallmark features of schizophrenia. Despite the prevalence and persistence of these symptoms, little is known about their functional implications. In this study, we examined, in a sample of chronically institutionalized schizophrenia patients (N = 317), whether two types of communication abnormalities (i.e., verbal underproductivity and disconnected speech) had differential relationships with social and adaptive outcomes. Baseline ratings of verbal underproductivity, disconnected speech, global cognitive performance, and clinical symptoms, were entered into stepwise regression analyses to examine their relationship with 2.5 year social and adaptive outcomes. At baseline, disconnected speech was significantly associated with socially impolite behavior, while verbal underproductivity was associated with social disengagement and impaired friendships. Both types of communication abnormalities were significantly associated with other types of social skills. Verbal underproductivity predicted follow-up social skills, social engagement, and friendships, accounting for more variance than. cognition or symptoms. In contrast to social outcomes, adaptive outcomes were predicted by baseline neurocognition and clinical symptoms, but not communication abnormalities. These findings provide evidence for specific relationships of communication disorder subtypes with diverse impairments in social functions. In this chronically institutionalized sample, communication disorder was a stronger predictor of social, but not adaptive, outcomes than neurocognition or clinical symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Communication
  • Functional
  • Outcome
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social
  • Thought disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)


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