Social inclusion and its interrelationships with social cognition and social functioning in first-episode psychosis

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Abstract

Aim:

People with psychosis are at risk of social exclusion. Research is needed in this area due to the lack of direct measurement of social inclusion, which becomes salient in adolescence and is relevant to first-episode psychosis (FEP; the onset of which typically occurs during or shortly after adolescence). Social inclusion may be impacted by impaired social cognition and social functioning, which are related features observed in psychosis. The aim of this study was to explore interrelationship(s) between social cognition, social functioning and social inclusion in FEP while controlling for symptomatology (positive, negative and depressive symptoms) and demographic characteristics.

Methods:

A series of cross-sectional hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted to examine whether: social cognition (theory of mind, emotion recognition) predicted social functioning; social functioning predicted social inclusion, and whether social functioning mediated the relationship between social cognition and social inclusion in people aged 15 to 25 (M = 20.49, SD = 2.41) with FEP (N = 146). Age, sex, premorbid IQ, positive and negative psychotic symptoms and depression were control variables.

Results:

Poor facial emotion recognition (β = −.22, P < .05) and negative symptoms (β = −.45, P < .001) predicted lower social functioning. Role-specific social functioning (ie, current employment) predicted greater social inclusion (β = .17, P < .05). Higher depression symptomatology predicted lower social inclusion (β = −.43, P < .001). Social functioning did not mediate the relationship between social cognition and inclusion. Psychotic symptoms were unrelated to social inclusion.

Conclusions:

Employment and depression may influence social inclusion somewhat independently of psychotic symptomatology in FEP. Inferences should be viewed with caution given this study did not involve longitudinal data.

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