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Evaluation sensitivity as a moderator of communication disorder in schizophrenia

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

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.

Method

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: P. M. Grant, Ph.D., Room 2032, 3535 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309, USA. (Email: pgrant@mail.med.upenn.edu)
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
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