Loneliness is associated with mentalizing and emotion recognition abilities in schizophrenia, but only in a cluster of patients with social cognitive deficits

L. Okruszek, M. Jarkiewicz, A. Piejka, M. Chrustowicz, M. Krawczyk, A. Schudy, P. D. Harvey, D. L. Penn, K. Ludwig, M. F. Green, A. E. Pinkham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Loneliness is a concern for patients with schizophrenia. However, the correlates of loneliness in patients with schizophrenia are unclear; thus, the aim of the study is to investigate neuro- and social cognitive mechanisms associated with loneliness in individuals with schizophrenia. Method: Data from clinical, neurocognitive, and social cognitive assessments were pooled from two cross-national samples (Poland/USA) to examine potential predictors of loneliness in 147 patients with schizophrenia and 103 healthy controls overall. Furthermore, the relationship between social cognition and loneliness was explored in clusters of patients with schizophrenia differing in social cognitive capacity. Results: Patients reported higher levels of loneliness than healthy controls. Loneliness was linked to increased negative and affective symptoms in patients. A negative association between loneliness and mentalizing and emotion recognition abilities was found in the patients with social-cognitive impairments, but not in those who performed at normative levels. Conclusions: We have elucidated a novel mechanism which may explain previous inconsistent findings regarding the correlates of loneliness in individuals with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023.

Funding

This research was supported by Grant MH93432 to Drs. Harvey, Penn, and Pinkham from the National Institute of Mental Health, and by Grant 2016/23/D/HS6/02947 to Dr Okruszek from the Polish National Centre of Science.

FundersFunder number
Polish National Centre of Science
National Institute of Mental Health2016/23/D/HS6/02947

    Keywords

    • cluster analysis
    • loneliness
    • psychosis
    • social cognition
    • social isolation
    • theory of mind

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