Social functioning in urban, predominantly African American, socially disadvantaged patients with first-episode nonaffective psychosis.
BACKGROUND: Social functioning impairments develop and accumulate even prior to initial treatment-seeking for first-episode psychosis. This study, the first to examine social functioning in low-income, urban, predominantly African American first-episode patients: (1) assesses the internal consistency of Social Functioning Scale (SFS) subscales in this relatively unique sample; (2) identifies demographic and clinical variables that may be predictive of poor social functioning in this particular population; and (3) assesses changes in SFS scores in a subsample re-assessed six months after initial hospitalization. METHODS: 109 participants (age, 23.1+/-4.7years; 76.1% male; 89.9% African American) hospitalized for a first episode of nonaffective psychosis in an urban, public-sector setting were administered the SFS along with other clinical research instruments. 34 (31.2%) returned for a follow-up clinical research assessment six months after baseline assessment. Associations between the variables of interest were analyzed utilizing independent samples Student's t-tests and Pearson correlations. RESULTS: Associations were observed between social functioning domains and negative symptoms (r=-.21--.32, p<.05), depressive symptoms (r=-.20--.23, p<.05), and general psychopathology symptoms (r=-.23--.24, p<.05). No significant differences were found in SFS subscale scores between baseline and six-month follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Deficits in social functioning are meaningfully related to several domains of symptoms, and such deficits may be relatively stable in the early course of psychotic disorders. Such findings may inform development of psychosocial interventions targeting social functioning in first-episode patients.
Goulding, SM; Franz, L; Bergner, E; Compton, MT
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