Social disability is a defining characteristic of schizophrenia and a substantial public health problem. It has several components that are difficult to disentangle. One component, social disconnection, occurs extensively in the general community among nonhelp-seeking individuals. Social disconnection is an objective, long-standing lack of social/family relationships and minimal participation in social activities. It is associated with negative health effects, including early mortality, and is distinct from subjective loneliness. These 2 topics, social disability in schizophrenia and social disconnection in the general community, have generated entirely distinct research literatures that differ in their respective knowledge gaps and emphases. Specifically, the consequences of social disability in schizophrenia are unknown but its determinants (ie, nonsocial cognition, social cognition, and social motivation) have been well-examined. Conversely, the health consequences of social disconnection in the general community are well-established, but the determinants are largely unknown. Social disconnection is a condition that presents substantial public health concerns, exists within and outside of current psychiatric diagnostic boundaries, and may be related to the schizophrenia spectrum. A comparison of these 2 literatures is mutually informative and it generates intriguing research questions that can be critically evaluated.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center.
- Social connections
- Social integration