Interplay Among Psychopathologic Variables, Personal Resources, Context-Related Factors, and Real-life Functioning in Individuals With Schizophrenia: A Network Analysis.
ABSTRACT: Importance:Enhanced understanding of factors associated with symptomatic and functional recovery is instrumental to designing personalized treatment plans for people with schizophrenia. To date, this is the first study using network analysis to investigate the associations among cognitive, psychopathologic, and psychosocial variables in a large sample of community-dwelling individuals with schizophrenia. Objective:To assess the interplay among psychopathologic variables, cognitive dysfunctions, functional capacity, personal resources, perceived stigma, and real-life functioning in individuals with schizophrenia, using a data-driven approach. Design, Setting, and Participants:This multicenter, cross-sectional study involved 26 university psychiatric clinics and/or mental health departments. A total of 921 community-dwelling individuals with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia who were stabilized on antipsychotic treatment were recruited from those consecutively presenting to the outpatient units of the sites between March 1, 2012, and September 30, 2013. Statistical analysis was conducted between July 1 and September 30, 2017. Main Outcomes and Measures:Measures covered psychopathologic variables, neurocognition, social cognition, functional capacity, real-life functioning, resilience, perceived stigma, incentives, and service engagement. Results:Of 740 patients (221 women and 519 men; mean [SD] age, 40.0 [10.9] years) with complete data on the 27 study measures, 163 (22.0%) were remitted (with a score of mild or better on 8 core symptoms). The network analysis showed that functional capacity and everyday life skills were the most central and highly interconnected nodes in the network. Psychopathologic variables split in 2 domains, with positive symptoms being one of the most peripheral and least connected nodes. Functional capacity bridged cognition with everyday life skills; the everyday life skills node was connected to disorganization and expressive deficits. Interpersonal relationships and work skills were connected to avolition; the interpersonal relationships node was also linked to social competence, and the work skills node was linked to social incentives and engagement with mental health services. A case-dropping bootstrap procedure showed centrality indices correlations of 0.75 or greater between the original and randomly defined samples up to 481 of 740 case-dropping (65.0%). No difference in the network structure was found between men and women. Conclusions and Relevance:The high centrality of functional capacity and everyday life skills in the network suggests that improving the ability to perform tasks relevant to everyday life is critical for any therapeutic intervention in schizophrenia. The pattern of network node connections supports the implementation of personalized interventions.
Project description:The functional outcome of schizophrenia is heterogeneous and markers of the course are missing. Functional outcome is associated with social cognition and negative symptoms. Gesture performance and nonverbal social perception are critically impaired in schizophrenia. Here, we tested whether gesture performance or nonverbal social perception could predict functional outcome and the ability to adequately perform relevant skills of everyday function (functional capacity) after 6 months. In a naturalistic longitudinal study, 28 patients with schizophrenia completed tests of nonverbal communication at baseline and follow-up. In addition, functional outcome, social and occupational functioning, as well as functional capacity at follow-up were assessed. Gesture performance and nonverbal social perception at baseline predicted negative symptoms, functional outcome, and functional capacity at 6-month follow-up. Gesture performance predicted functional outcome beyond the baseline measure of functioning. Patients with gesture deficits at baseline had stable negative symptoms and experienced a decline in social functioning. While in patients without gesture deficits, negative symptom severity decreased and social functioning remained stable. Thus, a simple test of hand gesture performance at baseline may indicate favorable outcomes in short-term follow-up. The results further support the importance of nonverbal communication skills in subjects with schizophrenia.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Prospective memory (the ability to remember to do things) has clear implications for everyday functioning, including employment, in people with severe mental illnesses (SMI). This study aimed to evaluate prospective memory performance and its relationship to real-world functional variables in an employment-seeking sample of people with SMI (Clinical Trial registration number NCT00895258). METHOD:153 individuals with DSM-IV diagnosis of depression (n = 58), bipolar disorder (n = 37), or schizophrenia (n = 58) who were receiving outpatient psychiatric care at a university clinic enrolled in a trial of supported employment and completed a baseline assessment. Prospective memory was measured with the Memory for Intentions Test (MIST); real-world functional status included work history variables, clinical history variables, baseline functional capacity (UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment-Brief), and work outcomes (weeks worked and wages earned during two years of supported employment). RESULTS:Participants with schizophrenia performed worse on the MIST than did those with affective disorders. Independent of diagnosis, education, and estimated intellectual functioning, prospective memory significantly predicted variance in measures of disability and illness burden (disability benefits, hospitalization history, current functional capacity), and work outcomes over two years of supported employment (weeks worked). CONCLUSIONS:Worse prospective memory appears to be associated with greater illness burden and functional disability in SMI. Mental health clinicians and employment specialists may counsel clients to use compensatory prospective memory strategies to improve work performance and decrease functional disability associated with SMI.
Project description:Treatments for the cognitive impairments of schizophrenia are urgently needed. We developed and tested a 12-week, group-based, manualized, compensatory cognitive training intervention targeting prospective memory, attention, learning/memory, and executive functioning. The intervention focused on compensatory strategies, such as calendar use, self-talk, note taking, and a 6-step problem-solving method, and did not require computers.In a randomized controlled trial, 69 outpatients with DSM-IV primary psychotic disorders were assigned to receive standard pharmacotherapy alone or compensatory cognitive training + standard pharmacotherapy for 12 weeks. Assessments of neuropsychological performance and functional capacity (primary outcomes) and psychiatric symptom severity, quality of life, social skills performance, cognitive insight, and self-reported everyday functioning (secondary outcomes) were administered at baseline, posttreatment, and 3-month follow-up. Data were collected between September 2003 and August 2009.Hierarchical linear modeling analyses demonstrated significant compensatory cognitive training-associated effects on attention at follow-up (P = .049), verbal memory at posttreatment and follow-up (P values ? .039), and functional capacity (University of California, San Diego Performance-based Skills Assessment) at follow-up (P = .004). The compensatory cognitive training group also differentially improved in negative symptom severity at posttreatment and follow-up (P values ? .025) and subjective quality of life at follow-up (P = .002).Compensatory cognitive training, a low-tech, brief intervention, has the potential to improve not only cognitive performance but also functional skills, negative symptoms, and self-rated quality of life in people with psychosis.ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01521026.
Project description:Neuropsychological abilities may underlie successful performance of everyday functioning and social skills. We aimed to determine the strongest neuropsychological predictors of performance-based functional capacity and social skills performance across the spectrum of severe mental illness (SMI). Unemployed outpatients with SMI (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression; n?=?151) were administered neuropsychological (expanded MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery), functional capacity (UCSD Performance-Based Skills Assessment-Brief; UPSA-B), and social skills (Social Skills Performance Assessment; SSPA) assessments. Bivariate correlations between neuropsychological performance and UPSA-B and SSPA total scores showed that most neuropsychological tests were significantly associated with each performance-based measure. Forward entry stepwise regression analyses were conducted entering education, diagnosis, symptom severity, and neuropsychological performance as predictors of functional capacity and social skills. Diagnosis, working memory, sustained attention, and category and letter fluency emerged as significant predictors of functional capacity, in a model that explained 43% of the variance. Negative symptoms, sustained attention, and letter fluency were significant predictors of social skill performance, in a model explaining 35% of the variance. Functional capacity is positively associated with neuropsychological functioning, but diagnosis remains strongly influential, with mood disorder participants outperforming those with psychosis. Social skill performance appears to be positively associated with sustained attention and verbal fluency regardless of diagnosis; however, negative symptom severity strongly predicts social skills performance. Improving neuropsychological functioning may improve psychosocial functioning in people with SMI.
Project description:Cognition, negative symptoms, and depression are potential predictors of disability in schizophrenia. We present analyses of pooled data from four separate studies (all n>169; total n=821) that assessed differential aspects of disability and their potential determinants. We hypothesized that negative symptoms would predict social outcomes, but not vocational functioning or everyday activities and that cognition and functional capacity would predict vocational functioning and everyday activities but not social outcomes. The samples were rated by clinician informants for their everyday functioning in domains of social and vocational outcomes, and everyday activities, examined with assessments of cognition and functional capacity, rated clinically with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and self-reporting depression. We computed a model that tested the hypotheses described above and compared it to a model that predicted that negative symptoms, depression, cognition, and functional capacity had equivalent influences on all aspects of everyday functioning. The former, specific relationship model fit the data adequately and we subsequently confirmed a similar fit within all four samples. Analyses of the relative goodness of fit suggested that this specific model fit the data better than the more general, equivalent influence predictor model. We suggest that treatments aimed at cognition may not affect social functioning as much as other aspects of disability, a finding consistent with earlier research on the treatment of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, while negative symptoms predicted social functioning. These relationships are central features of schizophrenia and treatment efforts should be aimed accordingly.
Project description:This study focused on the use of math in everyday life (the propensity to recognize and solve quantitative issues in real life situations). Data from a Dutch nation-wide research on math among adults (N = 521) were used to investigate the question whether math anxiety and perceived math competence mediated the relationship between math skills and use of math in everyday life, taken gender differences into account. Results showed that women reported higher math anxiety, lower perceived math competence, and lower use of math in everyday life, compared to men. Women's skills were estimated at a lower level than men's. For both women and men, higher skills were associated with higher perceived math competence, which in turn was associated with more use of math in everyday life. Only for women, math anxiety also mediated the relation between math skills and use of math in everyday life.
Project description:Up to 85% of patients with schizophrenia demonstrate cognitive dysfunction in at least one domain. Cognitive dysfunction plays a major role in functional outcome. It is hypothesized that addition of cognitive training to a comprehensive psychosocial programme (OPUS) enhances both cognitive and everyday functional capacity of patients more than the comprehensive psychosocial programme alone.The NEUROCOM trial examines the effect on cognitive functioning and everyday functional capacity of patients with schizophrenia of a 16-week manualised programme of individual cognitive training integrated in a comprehensive psychosocial programme versus the comprehensive psychosocial programme alone. The cognitive training consists of four modules focusing on attention, executive functioning, learning, and memory. Cognitive training involves computer-assisted training tasks as well as practical everyday tasks and calendar training. It takes place twice a week, and every other week the patient and trainer engage in a dialogue on the patient's cognitive difficulties, motivational goals, and progress in competence level. Cognitive training relies on errorless learning principles, scaffolding, and verbalisation in its effort to improve cognitive abilities and teach patients how to apply compensation strategies as well as structured problem solving techniques. At 16-week post-training and at ten-months follow-up, assessments are conducted to investigate immediate outcome and possible long-term effects of cognitive training. We conduct blinded assessments of cognition, everyday functional capacity and associations with the labour market, symptom severity, and self-esteem.Results from four-month and ten-month follow-ups have the potential of reliably providing documentation of the long-term effect of CT for patients with schizophrenia.Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00472862.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The ability to integrate contextual information with social cues to generate social meaning is a key aspect of social cognition. It is widely accepted that patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders have deficits in social cognition; however, previous studies on these disorders did not use tasks that replicate everyday situations. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:This study evaluates the performance of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders on social cognition tasks (emotional processing, empathy, and social norms knowledge) that incorporate different levels of contextual dependence and involvement of real-life scenarios. Furthermore, we explored the association between social cognition measures, clinical symptoms and executive functions. Using a logistic regression analysis, we explored whether the involvement of more basic skills in emotional processing predicted performance on empathy tasks. The results showed that both patient groups exhibited deficits in social cognition tasks with greater context sensitivity and involvement of real-life scenarios. These deficits were more severe in schizophrenic than in bipolar patients. Patients did not differ from controls in tasks involving explicit knowledge. Moreover, schizophrenic patients' depression levels were negatively correlated with performance on empathy tasks. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Overall performance on emotion recognition predicted performance on intentionality attribution during the more ambiguous situations of the empathy task. These results suggest that social cognition deficits could be related to a general impairment in the capacity to implicitly integrate contextual cues. Important implications for the assessment and treatment of individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, as well as for neurocognitive models of these pathologies are discussed.
Project description:Background and aim:Having decision making capacity is central to the exercise of autonomy in mental health care. The objective of this scoping review is to summarize the evidence on the capacity of people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to make decisions about their treatment in real life to support medical practice. Methods:Systematic search of observational studies on the assessment of capacity of patients with schizophrenia, psychosis, or bipolar disorder to make healthcare and treatment-related decisions, conducted in any clinical setting published up to January 31, 2020 was performed. Free text searches and medical subject headings in English were combined in PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, and PsycInfo. Publications were selected as per inclusion and exclusion criteria. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for observational studies was used to assess the quality of publications. Results:Thirty publications were reviewed. According to the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale criteria, the publications reviewed were good quality. Findings showed that more than 70% of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder outpatients understood treatment options at the point of making decisions about their illness and healthcare. Patients treated voluntarily had considerably better scores for decisional capacity than those treated involuntarily. The burden of psychiatric symptoms could compromise decisional capacity temporarily. Decision-making capacity improved over time from admission to discharge from hospital, and with treatment among psychiatry inpatients. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients could be as competent as nonpsychiatric individuals in making decisions about their treatments in everyday life. Conclusions:This scoping review provides a body of evidence for healthcare professionals in need of assessing the capacity of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients for autonomously decide about their treatments. Decisional capacity judgements should consider variations in capacity over time and be based on the type of decision to be made, the severity of symptoms, and the specific phase of the mental disorder.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Schizophrenia leads to profound disability in everyday functioning (e.g., difficulty finding and maintaining employment, housing, and personal relationships). Medications can effectively reduce positive symptoms (e.g., hallucinations and delusions), but they do not meaningfully improve daily life functioning. Psychosocial evidence-based practices (EBPs) improve functioning, but these EBPs are not available to most people with schizophrenia. The field must close the research and service delivery gap by adapting EBPs for schizophrenia to facilitate widespread implementation in community settings. Our hybrid effectiveness and implementation study represents an initiative to bridge this divide. In this study we will test whether an existing EBP (i.e., Cognitive Behavioral Social Skills Training (CBSST)) modified to work in practice settings (i.e., Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams) commonly available to persons with schizophrenia results in better consumer outcomes. We will also identify key factors relevant to developing future CBSST implementation strategies. METHODS/DESIGN:For the effectiveness study component, persons with schizophrenia will be recruited from existing publicly funded ACT teams operating in community settings. Participants will be randomized to one of the 2 treatments (ACT alone or ACT + Adapted CBSST) and followed longitudinally for 18 months with assessments every 18 weeks after baseline (5 in total). The primary outcome domain is psychosocial functioning (e.g., everyday living skills and activities related to employment, education, and housing) as measured by self-report, testing, and observation. Additional outcome domains of interest include mediators of change in functioning, symptoms, and quality of services. Primary analyses will be conducted using linear mixed-effects models for continuous data. The implementation study component consists of a structured, mixed qualitative-quantitative methodology (i.e., Concept Mapping) to characterize and assess the implementation experience from multiple stakeholder perspectives in order to inform future implementation initiatives. DISCUSSION:Adapting CBSST to fit into the ACT service delivery context found throughout the United States creates an opportunity to substantially increase the number of persons with schizophrenia who could have access to and benefit from EBPs. As part of the implementation learning process training materials and treatment workbooks have been revised to promote easier use of CBSST in the context of brief community-based ACT visits. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02254733 . Date of registration: 25 April 2014.