Social cognition in psychosis: Multidimensional structure, clinical correlates, and relationship with functional outcome
Social cognitive impairments are common, detectable across a wide range of tasks, and appear to play a key role in explaining poor outcome in schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. However, little is known about the underlying factor structure of social cognition in people with psychotic disorders due to a lack of exploratory factor analyses using a relatively comprehensive social cognitive assessment battery. In a sample of 85 outpatients with psychosis, we examined the factor structure and clinical/functional correlates of eight indexes derived from five social cognition tasks that span the domains of emotional processing, social perception, attributional style, and Theory of Mind. Exploratory factor analysis revealed three factors with relatively low inter-correlations that explained a total of 54% of the variance: (1) Hostile attributional style, (2) Lower-level social cue detection, and (3) Higher-level inferential and regulatory processes. None of the factors showed significant correlations with negative symptoms. Factor 1 significantly correlated with clinical symptoms (positive, depression-anxiety, agitation) but not functional outcome, whereas Factors 2 and 3 significantly correlated with functional outcome (functional capacity and real-world social and work functioning) but not clinical symptoms. Furthermore, Factor 2 accounted for unique incremental variance in functional capacity, above and beyond non-social neurocognition (measured with MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery) and negative symptoms. Results suggest that multiple separable dimensions of social cognition can be identified in psychosis, and these factors show distinct patterns of correlation with clinical features and functional outcome.