Social cognition training as an intervention for improving functional outcome in first-episode psychosis: a feasibility study

Authors

  • Cali F. Bartholomeusz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia
    • Corresponding author: Dr Cali Bartholomeusz, Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne, National Neuroscience Facility, Level 2-3 Alan Gilbert Building, 161 Barry Street, Carlton South, Vic. 3053, Australia. Email: barc@unimelb.edu.au

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  • Kelly Allott,

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • Eoin Killackey,

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • Ping Liu,

    1. Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia
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  • Stephen J. Wood,

    1. Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne, Carlton South, Victoria, Australia
    2. School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
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  • Andrew Thompson

    1. Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. East Sussex Early Intervention in Psychosis Service, Sussex Partnership NHS Trus, Sussex, UK
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Abstract

Background

Social cognitive deficits have a detrimental effect on social and role functioning at both early and late stages of psychotic illness.

Aim

To assess the feasibility of social cognition and interaction training (SCIT) in first-episode psychosis (FEP).

Methods

A total of 12 FEP participants were sequentially allocated to one of two SCIT groups, each of which met once per week for 10 consecutive weeks. Social cognition and functioning was assessed at baseline and post-intervention.

Results

SCIT was well-tolerated and retention was good. FEP participants improved significantly on measures of emotion recognition and social and occupational functioning.

Conclusions

This study extends previous research by applying SCIT early in the course of illness, with the rationale that there is greater brain plasticity in this developmental phase of life, and greater scope to reduce or prevent disability. Results suggest SCIT is acceptable to and potentially helpful for this young population, thus a large randomized controlled trial is warranted.

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