The Effect of Age, Race, and Sex on Social Cognitive Performance in Individuals With Schizophrenia

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Age, race, and sex are linked to social cognitive performance among healthy individuals, but whether similar effects are evident in schizophrenia is unknown. Data from 170 individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 98 healthy controls were used to examine relations between these demographic factors and performance across multiple domains and measures of social cognition. Sex was not related to performance on any domain, but older age was related to poorer emotion recognition from dynamic stimuli in both patients and controls. In patients, older age was also associated with better abilities to decipher hints. Both Caucasian patients and controls performed better than African American individuals on emotion recognition and mental state attribution tasks that use only Caucasian individuals as visual stimuli. Findings suggest rather limited influences of demographic factors but do demonstrate normative age and race effects among patients. Findings also highlight important methodological considerations for measurement of social cognition.

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