People with schizophrenia exhibit deficits in neurocognitive and social cognitive (SC) processes which limit their social reintegration. SC was found to mediate in part the impact of neurocognitive dysfunctions on real-life functioning.
The purpose of this study was to implement a new intervention for patients with schizophrenia, the Social Cognition Individualized Activities Lab (So.C.I.A.L.) which trains both social cognition and neurocognitive functions.
To determine the efficacy of the So.C.I.A.L in improving SC by a comparison with a validated cognitive remediation (CR) intervention: the Social Skills And Neurocognitive Individualized Training (SSANIT).
Nine stabilized patients accepted to participate in this pilot study. Five were randomized to So.C.I.A.L. and 4 to SSANIT. The two programs were matched for the overall treatment duration (20 weeks), as well as frequency and duration of the sessions. Both interventions included individual sessions of neurocognitive individualized training; So.C.I.A.L included group sessions on Emotion Recognition and Theory of Mind, while SSANIT group sessions of Social Skills Individualized Training.
No group difference was found for changes in neurocognition, while a significant group effect was observed for changes in SC, due to improvement only in the So.C.I.A.L. group.
The study results showed a specific effect of the So.C.I.A.L. on SC, beyond the effect on neurocognition. Further studies are needed to assess the impact of So.C.I.A.L. on real-life functioning in a larger group of subjects.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.