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Evaluation sensitivity as a moderator of communication disorder in schizophrenia

  • P. M. Grant (a1) and A. T. Beck (a1)

Communication disturbance (thought disorder) is a central feature of schizophrenia that predicts poor functioning. We investigated the hypothesis that memory and attention deficits interact with beliefs about the gravity of being rejected (i.e. evaluation sensitivity) to produce the symptoms of communication disorder.


Seventy-four individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder completed a battery of tests assessing neurocognition (attention, working and verbal memory, abstraction), symptomatology (positive, negative and affective), functioning, and dysfunctional beliefs.


Patients with communication deviance (n=33) performed more poorly on the neurocognitive tests and reported a greater degree of sensitivity to rejection than patients with no thought disorder (n=41). In a logistic regression analysis, evaluation sensitivity moderated the relationship between cognitive impairment and the presence of communication disorder. This finding was independent of hallucinations, delusions, negative symptoms, depression and anxiety.


We propose that negative appraisals about acceptance instigate communication anomalies in individuals with a pre-existing diathesis for imperfect speech production.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: P. M. Grant, Ph.D., Room 2032, 3535 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309, USA. (Email:
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