A randomized, controlled trial of Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT) for outpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders

David L. Roberts, Dennis R. Combs, Michael Willoughby, Jim Mintz, Clare Gibson, Betty Rupp, David L. Penn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Objectives In schizophrenia, the ability to adaptively infer the thoughts and feelings of others (i.e., social cognition) is strongly associated with community functioning. Researchers have designed psychosocial interventions to improve social cognition with the aim of improving downstream social functioning. Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT) is one such intervention. Previous research on SCIT has been promising, but has consisted largely of smaller trials with insufficient experimental control. Design Randomized, controlled trial. Methods The current article reports on a controlled trial of 66 adults with schizophrenia randomized to receive either SCIT (n = 33), delivered in weekly group sessions, or treatment as usual (n = 33) for 6 months. Participants completed assessments of social cognition, social functioning, neurocognition and symptoms at baseline, post-treatment, and 3-month follow-up. Results Primary analyses suggest that SCIT may improve social functioning, negative symptoms, and possibly hostile attributional bias. Post-hoc analyses suggest a dose-response effect. Conclusions Findings are discussed in the context of continuing to refine and improve social cognitive interventions for schizophrenia. Practitioner points Social cognitive intervention is a feasible and promising approach to improving social functioning among individuals with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. Dose-response findings suggest that delivering social cognitive interventions with greater frequency may maximize their benefit to patients. Research on social cognitive interventions is still young and effects from well-controlled trials have been inconsistent. It is not yet clear which components of social cognitive training may be the key active ingredients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-298
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Schizophrenia
  • attributional bias
  • emotion perception
  • remediation
  • social cognition
  • social functioning
  • theory of mind
  • training
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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