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Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders have been increasingly recognised to form cognitive subgroups with differential levels of impairment. Using cluster analytical techniques, this study sought to identify cognitive clusters in a sample of first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and examine clinical and developmental differences across the resultant groups.
In total, 105 FEP patients in the University of California Los Angeles Aftercare Research Program were assessed for cognition, symptoms and premorbid developmental adjustment. Hierarchical cluster analysis with Ward's method and squared Euclidean distance was conducted, confirmed by discriminant function analysis and optimised with k-means clustering. The stability of the solution was evaluated through split-sample (random, 80 and 70% samples) and alternate method (average linkage method) replication via Cohen's κ analysis. Controlling for multiple comparisons, one-way analysis of variances examined group differences in symptom severity and premorbid adjustment.
Three groups were identified: severely impaired (n = 27), moderately impaired (n = 41) and relatively intact (n = 37). There were no significant differences in symptom severity across the groups. Significant differences were observed for scholastic performance at three different developmental stages: childhood, early adolescence and late adolescence, with the relatively intact group demonstrating significantly better scholastic performance at all three stages than both the moderately impaired and severely impaired groups (who did not significantly differ from each other).
The findings add to growing evidence that cognitive clusters in FEP mirror that of later-stage schizophrenia. They also suggest that premorbid scholastic performance may not just be a risk factor for developing schizophrenia, but is also related to cognitive impairment severity and potentially to prognosis.
Cognitive deficits at the first episode of schizophrenia are predictive of functional outcome. Interventions that improve cognitive functioning early in schizophrenia are critical if we hope to prevent or limit long-term disability in this disorder.
We completed a 12-month randomized controlled trial of cognitive remediation and of long-acting injectable (LAI) risperidone with 60 patients with a recent first episode of schizophrenia. Cognitive remediation involved programs focused on basic cognitive processes as well as more complex, life-like situations. Healthy behavior training of equal treatment time was the comparison group for cognitive remediation, while oral risperidone was the comparator for LAI risperidone in a 2 × 2 design. All patients were provided supported employment/education to encourage return to work or school.
Both antipsychotic medication adherence and cognitive remediation contributed to cognitive improvement. Cognitive remediation was superior to healthy behavior training in the LAI medication condition but not the oral medication condition. Cognitive remediation was also superior when medication adherence and protocol completion were covaried. Both LAI antipsychotic medication and cognitive remediation led to significantly greater improvement in work/school functioning. Effect sizes were larger than in most prior studies of first-episode patients. In addition, cognitive improvement was significantly correlated with work/school functional improvement.
These results indicate that consistent antipsychotic medication adherence and cognitive remediation can significantly improve core cognitive deficits in the initial period of schizophrenia. When combined with supported employment/education, cognitive remediation and LAI antipsychotic medication show separate significant impact on improving work/school functioning.
The aggregation of neurocognitive deficits among the non-psychotic first-degree relatives of adult- and childhood-onset schizophrenia patients suggests that there may be a common etiology for these deficits in childhood- and adult-onset illness. However, there is considerable heterogeneity in the presentation of neurobiological abnormalities, and whether there are differences in the extent of familial transmission for specific domains of cognitive function has not been systematically addressed.
We employed variance components analysis, as implemented in SOLAR-Eclipse, to evaluate the evidence of familial transmission for empirically derived composite scores representing attention, working memory, verbal learning, verbal retention, and memory for faces. We contrast estimates for adult- and childhood-onset schizophrenia families and matched community control pedigrees, and compare our findings to previous reports based on analogous neurocognitive assessments.
We observed varying degrees of familial transmission; attention and working memory yielded comparable, significant estimates for adult-onset and community control pedigrees; verbal learning was significant for childhood-onset and community control pedigrees; and facial memory demonstrated significant familial transmission only for childhood-onset schizophrenia. Model-fitting analyses indicated significant differences in familiality between adult- and childhood-onset schizophrenia for attention, working memory, and verbal learning.
By comprehensively assessing a wide range of neurocognitive domains in adult- and childhood-onset schizophrenia families, we provide additional support for specific neurocognitive domains as schizophrenia endophenotypes. Whereas comparable estimates of familial transmission for certain dimensions of cognitive functioning support a shared etiology of adult- and childhood-onset neurocognitive function, observed differences may be taken as preliminary evidence of partially divergent multifactorial architectures.
Objective: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained in childhood is associated with poor social outcomes. This study investigated the role of theory of mind (ToM) as a mediator of the relation between TBI and peer rejection/victimization and reciprocated friendships, as well as the moderating effect of parental nurturance on those relationships. Method: Participants were children of 8–13 years old (M = 10.45, SD = 1.47), including 13 with severe TBI, 39 with complicated mild/moderate TBI, and 32 children with orthopedic injuries. Data on peer rejection/victimization and friendship were collected in school classrooms using the Extended Class Play and friendship nominations. Parents rated parental nurturance using the Child-Rearing Practices Report. Finally, ToM was measured based on children’s average performance across three tasks measuring different aspects of ToM. Results: Severe TBI was associated with poorer ToM, greater peer rejection/victimization, and fewer reciprocated friendships. ToM mediated the relation between severe TBI and peer rejection/victimization (i.e., severe TBI predicted poorer ToM, which in turn predicted greater rejection/victimization). Parental nurturance significantly moderated this relation, such that the mediating effect of ToM was significant only at low and average levels of parental nurturance, for both severe and complicated mild/moderate TBI groups. Neither the mediating effect of ToM nor the moderating effect of parental nurturance was significant for reciprocated friendships. Conclusion: High parental nurturance may mitigate the negative effects of ToM deficits on risk of peer rejection/victimization among children with TBI. Interventions designed to increase parental nurturance or ToM may promote better social outcomes among children with TBI.
This study evaluated in a rigorous 18-month randomized controlled trial the efficacy of an enhanced vocational intervention for helping individuals with a recent first schizophrenia episode to return to and remain in competitive work or regular schooling.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) was adapted to meet the goals of individuals whose goals might involve either employment or schooling. IPS was combined with a Workplace Fundamentals Module (WFM) for an enhanced, outpatient, vocational intervention. Random assignment to the enhanced integrated rehabilitation program (N = 46) was contrasted with equally intensive clinical treatment at UCLA, including social skills training groups, and conventional vocational rehabilitation by state agencies (N = 23). All patients were provided case management and psychiatric services by the same clinical team and received oral atypical antipsychotic medication.
The IPS–WFM combination led to 83% of patients participating in competitive employment or school in the first 6 months of intensive treatment, compared with 41% in the comparison group (p < 0.005). During the subsequent year, IPS–WFM continued to yield higher rates of schooling/employment (92% v. 60%, p < 0.03). Cumulative number of weeks of schooling and/or employment was also substantially greater with the IPS–WFM intervention (45 v. 26 weeks, p < 0.004).
The results clearly support the efficacy of an enhanced intervention focused on recovery of participation in normative work and school settings in the initial phase of schizophrenia, suggesting potential for prevention of disability.
The history of psychology has often been taught from a largely Euro-American perspective, and has emphasized the contributions of white European and American men. This history has also frequently involved the imposition of mainstream methodologies and idea on various cultural contexts, too often at the expense of indigenous ideas and psychologies. In this chapter, the author discusses cultural perspectives on the history of the field, and presents examples of the contributions of women and cultural and ethnic groups that can be incorporated into the history course. The chapter concludes with descriptions of teaching activities and resources for integration of culture in the teaching of history of psychology.
Although it may not appear in psychology courses as frequently as it could, the concept of ethnocentrism is an important, if often unrecognized, aspect of human behavior. Ethnocentrism is likely universal, existing, as numerous writers have observed, like the water surrounding a fish; the fish does not realize it is viewing the world through water, because it has never seen the world any other way. As teachers, a part of our role is to expand our students’ horizons, to provide new experiences, and to offer new perspectives. If some of those experiences can open new cultural vistas, they have potential to change lives.
Introductory psychology is the starting point for most students of psychology, and for some it is the only course they will experience. Although the introductory course is in some ways a mirror of the field, it is not possible to teach everything in a single class. Therefore, helping students to ask the right kinds of questions may be an effective strategy for teaching the role of culture in our understanding of the field. This chapter presents examples of key questions, and offers teaching activities and resources for instructors in the introductory course.