Development and Preliminary Evaluation of a Social Cognition Intervention for Outpatients with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Roberts, David
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Social functioning deficits (e.g., social skill, community functioning) are a core feature of schizophrenia. These deficits are only minimally improved via the frontline treatments for schizophrenia (e.g. medication, social skills training, cognitive-behavioral therapy). The current project addresses this limitation with the development of a psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia that targets social cognition. Social cognition is a set of cognitive processes applied to the recognition, adaptive processing, and effective use of social cues in real-world situations. This is a promising treatment target as social cognition may be more strongly related to social functioning outcomes than traditional neurocognitive domains (Couture, Penn, & Roberts, 2006). Consistent with expert consensus, Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT) is being developed based on a four-stage model of treatment. This dissertation focuses on the first two stages of this model: Treatment conceputalization and manual development, followed by pilot testing with outpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Two pilot trials were conducted, with the primary outcome of interest being social cognition (i.e., emotion perception, Theory of Mind, and attributional style). Secondary outcomes included social skill and need for closure. Study #1 used a quasi-experimental design to assess efficacy in a North Carolina (NC) sample, and Study #2 used an uncontrolled, pre-post design to assess effectiveness in a New York (NY) sample. Results were generally promising, as SCIT participants in both studies showed evidence of improvement in most outcome domains. Results and implications are discussed.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Penn, David L.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2008

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