Social cognition in schizophrenia: factor structure, clinical and functional correlates

Benjamin E. Buck, Kristin M. Healey, Emily C. Gagen, David L. Roberts, David L. Penn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background: Social cognition is consistently impaired in people with schizophrenia, separable from general neurocognition, predictive of real-world functioning and amenable to psychosocial treatment. Few studies have empirically examined its underlying factor structure. Aims: This study (1) examines the factor structure of social cognition in both a sample of individuals with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and non-clinical controls and (2) explores relationships of factors to neurocognition, symptoms and functioning. Method: A factor analysis was conducted on social cognition measures in a sample of 65 individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and 50 control participants. The resulting factors were examined for their relationships to symptoms and functioning. Results: Results suggested a two-factor structure in the schizophrenia sample (social cognition skill and hostile attributional style) and a three-factor structure in the non-clinical sample (hostile attributional style, higher-level inferential processing and lower-level cue detection). In the schizophrenia sample, the social cognition skill factor was significantly related to negative symptoms and social functioning, whereas hostile attributional style predicted positive and general psychopathology symptoms. Conclusions: The factor structure of social cognition in schizophrenia separates hostile attributional style and social cognition skill, and each show differential relationships to relevant clinical variables in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 3 2016


  • Cognitive impairment
  • schizophrenia
  • social cognition
  • theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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