Neuromotor functioning and social skills in schizophrenia
Caan, Beatrice L.
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The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to compare a group of patients with schizophrenia and a non-patient control group on social skills deficits and neuromotor abnormalities, and (b) to explore the relationships between neuromotor functioning and social skills in the patients. The participants consisted of 28 patients and 22 non-patient controls. Two hypotheses were tested. Hypothesis I stated that there would be significant differences between the patients and the control group members on social skills and neuromotor measures. Patients were expected to be more impaired than the control group members. Hypothesis II stated that greater neuromotor abnormalities would be associated with poorer social skills in the patients.;All participants were administered a modified version of a role-play test designed to assess the ability to resolve interpersonal problems through conversation. Role-play enactments were videotaped and rated on overall social skill and seven response parameters. Neuromotor functioning was assessed using the Barnes Akathisia Scale, the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale, the Simpson-Angus Scale for Extrapyramidal Side Effects and a Neurological Sign Inventory. Differences between patients and the control group on social skills and neuromotor measures were examined using t-tests. Relationships between neuromotor measures and social skills in the patients were examined using correlation matrices and multiple linear regressions.;Hypothesis I was supported. Patients demonstrated more impaired social skills and neuromotor functioning than the control group.;Hypothesis II was partially supported. Bivariate correlations demonstrated associations between neurological soft signs and conversational skill, conversational flow, the ability to remain on topic, conversational turn-taking and overall social skill. The correlation between neurological soft signs and affect approached significance. The correlation between abnormal involuntary movement and interest in the role-play approached significance, although not in the predicted direction. Multiple linear regression analyses yielded similar results. Neurological soft signs significantly predicted conversational skill, the ability to be on topic, conversational turn-taking and overall social skill. Neurological soft signs and abnormal involuntary movement together significantly predicted conversational flow. The association of abnormal involuntary movement with conversational flow did not occur in the expected direction. Explanations of findings, study limitations, and the implications for research and practice were discussed.