Award Date

5-1-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Daniel Allen

Second Committee Member

Kristen Culbert

Third Committee Member

Murray Millar

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Keane

Number of Pages

66

Abstract

Schizophrenia (SZ) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are often comorbid psychological disorders. Separately, research has previously demonstrated deficits in social cognition, including affect recognition impairment in both disorders; however, less is reliably known about the specific deficits unique to a comorbid diagnosis of SZ and PTSD. This study examined the ability to correctly identify facial expressions in individuals diagnosed with SZ (n = 38) and PTSD alone (n = 20), comorbid SZ and PTSD (n = 26), and healthy controls (n = 28). Participants were administered a test battery to establish diagnoses of of schizophrenia and PTSD, and to evaluate positive and negative symptoms of psychosis, general psychopathology, and PTSD symptoms. Participants then completed a facial affect identification paradigm which included Inverted Faces, Affect Matching, and Affect Labeling tasks.

Differences between groups on the facial affect tasks were examined using a mixed model ANOVA. Results indicated the schizophrenia and schizophrenia with PTSD groups were less able to accurately identify facial affect when compared to the PTSD and control groups. The schizophrenia groups did not differ from each other suggesting that when PTSD is present in schizophrenia it does not further impair emotional processing in individuals with schizophrenia. Additionally, no significant differences were present between the control and PTSD groups on individual emotions, and in the case of the emotion fear, individuals with PTSD performed slightly better than controls. In conclusion, when PTSD occurs comorbidly with schizophrenia it does not appear to significantly increase deficits in facial affect perception.

Keywords

Affect perception; Face affect identification; Facial affect recognition; PTSD; Schizophrenia; SMI

Disciplines

Cognitive Psychology

Language

English


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