Objective: The efficacy of three newly developed cognitive social skills training programmes for residential, vocational and recreational functioning (experimental groups) were compared with a traditional social skills training programme (control group) referring to cognitive and social abilities, psychopathology and generalisation effects.
Method: One hundred and five patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder according to ICD-10 criteria were selected and assigned to the different treatment groups, using a matching procedure. The treatment phase lasted 6 months. A follow-up assessment was carried out after 1 year.
Results: Higher global therapy effects were obtained on almost all dependent variables in the experimental groups. Analyses of variance and covariance indicated higher symptom reduction for the experimental groups, but significantly greater improvements in some cognitive variables for the control group. Correlation analysis suggested associations between improvement of social behaviour with symptom reduction and improvements of cognitive skills.
Conclusion: In view of these favourable effects, the developed cognitive social skills training programmes might facilitate the abilities of schizophrenia patients for their integration in the community.