Object Relations, Reality Testing, and Social Withdrawal in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder


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Abstract

In this study, we investigated the relationships between observed social withdrawal (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale [PANSS] Passive Social Withdrawal and PANSS Active Social Avoidance), subjectively experienced social withdrawal (Social Functioning Scale [SFS] Withdrawal and SFS Interpersonal Behavior), and their associations to the underlying psychological patterns of Object Relations and Reality Testing. Patients with schizophrenia (n = 55) and bipolar disorder (n = 51) from the ongoing Thematically Organized Psychosis project, Oslo University Hospital, Norway, were evaluated using the Bell Object Relations and Reality Testing Inventory, the PANSS, and the SFS. Object relations and reality testing subscales related differentially to PANSS Passive Social Withdrawal and PANSS Active Social Avoidance. These two measures, together with the level of alienation, explained a significant amount of variance in self-experienced social dysfunction. Findings reveal the multidimensional nature of social dysfunction in severe mental disorders.

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