Predictors of social functioning in patients with higher and lower levels of reduced emotional experience: Social cognition, social competence, and symptom severity

Philip D Harvey, Elizabeth Deckler, L. Fredrik Jarsksog, David L. Penn, Amy E. Pinkham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Deficits in social functioning in schizophrenia are primarily predicted by negative symptoms, social cognition deficits, and social skills deficits. Here we examine those predictive variables across variations in the severity of reduced emotional experience. We hypothesized that in patients with high symptom severity, factors such as social cognition would have reduced importance for predicting social outcomes. Methods: Participants with schizophrenia (n = 312) were tested using five different measures of social cognition. Performance-based assessments and clinical ratings of reduced emotion experience were used to assess social competence. High contact informants rated interpersonal functioning and social acceptability of behavior, while unaware of other patient data. Patients were divided into higher and lower reduced emotional experience using previously validated criteria. Results: 33% of the patients had at least moderate symptoms of reduced emotional experience. Patients with greater severity had more social functioning impairment, but not poorer social competence and social cognition. In the patients with lower severity, social cognition accounted for 9% of the variance in interpersonal functioning, while in patients with higher severity, social cognition did not predict any variance. In the patients with lower severity, social cognition accounted for 4% of the variance in social acceptability of behavior, while in patients with higher severity, social cognition also did not predict any variance. Implications: The influence of social cognition on social outcomes appears greater in patients with less severe symptoms of reduced emotional experience. As there are treatments for both these symptoms and social cognition with demonstrated efficacy, these data suggest differential application of these interventions based on symptom severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSchizophrenia Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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