Improved social functioning following social recovery therapy in first episode psychosis: Do social cognition and neurocognition change following therapy, and do they predict treatment response?

Siân Lowri Griffiths, Stephen J. Wood, David Fowler, Nick Freemantle, Joanne Hodgekins, Peter B. Jones, Swaran Singh, Vimal Sharma, Max Birchwood

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There is a need to develop and refine psychosocial interventions to improve functioning in First Episode Psychosis (FEP). Social cognition and neurocognition are closely linked to functioning in psychosis; examinations of cognition pre- and post- psychosocial intervention may provide insights into the mechanisms of these interventions, and identify which individuals are most likely to benefit. Method: Cognition was assessed within a multi-site trial of Social Recovery Therapy (SRT) for individuals with FEP experiencing poor functioning (<30 h weekly structured activity). Fifty-nine participants were randomly allocated to the therapy group (SRT + Early intervention), and 64 were allocated to treatment as usual group (TAU - early intervention care). Social cognition and neurocognition were assessed at baseline and 9 months; assessors were blind to group allocation. It was hypothesized that social cognition would improve following therapy, and those with better social cognition prior to therapy would benefit the most from SRT. Results: There was no significant impact of SRT on individual neurocognitive or social cognitive variables, however, joint models addressing patterns of missingness demonstrate improvement across a number of cognitive outcomes following SRT. Further, regression analyses showed those who had better social cognition at baseline were most likely to benefit from the therapy (ß = 0.350; 95% CI = 0.830 to 8.891; p = .019). Conclusion: It is not clear if SRT impacts on social cognitive or neurocognitive function, however, SRT may be beneficial in those with better social cognition at baseline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-255
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Early online date22 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Cognition
  • Functioning
  • Psychosis
  • Psychosocial intervention
  • Social disability

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