The aim of this study was to examine the nature of the relationship between attentional dysfunction and social competence deficits in patients with schizophrenia. Attentional functioning, social perception, and social competence were assessed in 56 inpatients. Measures of vigilance and span of apprehension were administered to assess attentional functioning. Social perception was assessed with an audiovisual measure of affect recognition. Social competence was rated from a role-play task. Span of apprehension and auditory vigilance emerged as specific predictors of social competence. Affect recognition was tested as a mediator and a moderator of the relationship between attentional dysfunction and social competence. Affect recognition was found to moderate the relationship between span of apprehension and social competence.