Neurocognition, social cognition, perceived social discomfort, and vocational outcomes in schizophrenia.

Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Yale University, USA.
Schizophrenia Bulletin (Impact Factor: 8.61). 02/2008; 35(4):738-47. DOI: 10.1093/schbul/sbm169
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Social cognition has been suggested to be an important mediating variable in the relationship between neurocognition and functional outcome. The present study tested this model in relation to work rehabilitation outcome and added self-reported social discomfort as a possible mediator. One hundred fifty-one participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder participated in a 26-week work therapy program. Neurocognition was constructed as a latent construct comprised of selected variables from our intake test battery representing executive functioning, verbal memory, attention and working memory, processing speed, and thought disorder. Social cognition at intake was the other latent construct comprised of variables representing affect recognition, theory of mind, self-reported egocentricity, and ratings of rapport. The 2 latent constructs received support from confirmatory factor analysis. Social discomfort on the job was based on their self-report on a weekly questionnaire. In addition, we constructed a composite rehabilitation outcome that was based on how many hours they worked, how well they worked, and how complex was the job that they were doing. Path analysis showed direct effects of neurocognition on rehabilitation outcome and indirect effects mediated by social cognition and social discomfort. This model proved to be a good fit to the data and far superior to another model where only social cognition was the mediating variable between neurocognition and rehabilitation outcome. Findings suggest that neurocognition affects social cognition and that poorer social cognition leads to social discomfort on the job, which in turn leads to poorer rehabilitation outcomes. Implications for rehabilitation interventions are discussed.

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