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Social Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder and Bipolar Disorder: Similarities and Differences

Caponigro, Janelle M (2007) Social Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder and Bipolar Disorder: Similarities and Differences. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Impairments in social functioning are characteristic of several severe mental illnesses. Efforts have been made to understand the nature of these social functioning deficits. However, there is still much to learn about the role of social functioning in individuals with mental illness. This study aims to investigate one aspect of social functioning --social cognitive functioning-- for each of three clinical groups of outpatients with severe mental illness [individuals with schizophrenia (N=16), bipolar disorder (N=19), and schizoaffective disorder (N=18)], as compared to that of healthy controls (N=15). Participants were evaluated on three social cognitive assessments: 1) a traditional Theory of Mind-False Belief Task (ToM), an inferential thinking task and a measure of receptive social cognition; 2) the Movie Clips Task, a social reasoning and affect understanding task that also measures receptive social cognition; and 3) The Interpersonal Block Assembly Task (IBAT), an interpersonal communication task that measures expressive social cognition. Results indicated that all three clinical groups performed significantly worse on the IBAT as compared to the healthy control group. Only one significant clinical group versus control group difference was found on the receptive social cognition tasks (the Movie Clips Task and the ToM Task): the bipolar disorder group performed worse than the healthy control group on the Movie Clips Task. Clinical group comparisons on the three tasks indicated that there were significant differences on the Movie Clip Task only, with individuals in the schizoaffective group performing better than individuals in the bipolar disorder group. These findings suggest that expressive social cognitive functioning is impaired in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder, as compared to healthy individuals; in contrast, deficits in receptive social cognition were found for the bipolar disorder group alone, suggesting that impairments in receptive social cognitive abilities may be limited and specific to individuals with bipolar disorder.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Caponigro, Janelle
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHaas, Gretchen Lhaasgl@upmc.eduGLHAAS
Committee CoChairKucinski, Barbarakucinski@pitt.eduKUCINSKI
Committee MemberGoldstein,
Committee MemberPogue-Geile, Michaelmfpg@pitt.eduMFPG
Date: 20 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 24 July 2007
Approval Date: 20 September 2007
Submission Date: 2 August 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bipolar disorder; schizoaffective disorder; social functioning; schizophrenia; social cognition
Other ID:, etd-08022007-155721
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:56
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:37


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