Award Date

December 2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Daniel N. Allen

Second Committee Member

Andrew Freeman

Third Committee Member

Chris Heavey

Fourth Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages

131

Abstract

It has been consistently found that individuals with schizophrenia exhibit impairments across various social cognitive domains, including emotion processing, social perception, and theory of mind. These deficits have been found across illness stages and cannot be accounted for by clinical symptomatology or neurocognitive skills. Further, while it has been well established that there is a link between cognition and functional outcome, social cognition has been found to be uniquely related to functional impairment in the disorder. Despite this evidence, the field is currently lacking efficient ways to identify and characterize these deficits in clinical settings. The Brief Test of Social Cognitive Abilities (BTSCA) was developed in the current study in order to provide a quick, easy to administer test to assess social cognitive abilities in clinical settings. Following the development of the BTSCA from archival item-level data of NCs and individuals with schizophrenia on established social cognitive measures, psychometric properties of the scale and sensitivity of the scale to social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia were examined in a large sample of normal controls and individuals with schizophrenia. Finally, the relationship between the BTSCA, clinical symptomatology, and functional capacity were examined in order to establish clinical utility of the scale. Overall, study findings demonstrate that the BTSCA shows promising psychometric properties and clinical utility as a brief screening measure of social cognitive abilities in individuals with schizophrenia.

Keywords

BTSCA; schizophrenia; social cognition

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology

Language

English


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