Schizophr Res Cogn 2020 Jun 26;20:100171. Epub 2019 Dec 26.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Minnesota, F282/2A West, 2450 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454, United States of America.
Background: Deficits in cognition, social cognition, and motivation are significant predictors of poor functional outcomes in schizophrenia. Evidence of durable benefit following social cognitive training is limited. We previously reported the effects of 70 h of targeted cognitive training supplemented with social cognitive exercises (TCT + SCT) verses targeted cognitive training alone (TCT). Here, we report the effects six months after training.
Methods: 111 participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were randomly assigned to TCT + SCT or TCT-only. Six months after training, thirty-four subjects (18 TCT + SCT, 16 TCT-only) were assessed on cognition, social cognition, reward processing, symptoms, and functioning. Intent to treat analyses was used to test the durability of gains, and the association of gains with improvements in functioning and reward processing were tested.
Results: Both groups showed durable improvements in multiple cognitive domains, symptoms, and functional capacity. Gains in global cognition were significantly associated with gains in functional capacity. In the TCT + SCT group, participants showed durable improvements in prosody identification and reward processing, relative to the TCT-only group. Gains in reward processing in the TCT + SCT group were significantly associated with improvements in social functioning.
Conclusions: Both TCT + SCT and TCT-only result in durable improvements in cognition, symptoms, and functional capacity six months post-intervention. Supplementing TCT with social cognitive training offers greater and enduring benefits in prosody identification and reward processing. These results suggest that novel cognitive training approaches that integrate social cognitive exercises may lead to greater improvements in reward processing and functioning in individuals with schizophrenia.