Social cognition and short-term prediction of suicidal ideation in schizophrenia

Psychiatry Res. 2018 Dec:270:13-19. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.09.005. Epub 2018 Sep 5.


Despite recent research acknowledging social cognition as an important feature of interpersonal functioning in schizophrenia, little work has evaluated the role of social cognition in suicidal ideation and behavior in psychosis. In a short-term longitudinal study, we evaluated the association between concurrent and near term suicidal ideation with social cognition, including emotion recognition and related biases (ER-40; BLERT), attribution biases (AIHQ), and evaluations of trustworthiness (trustworthiness task) in a sample of 179 outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Adjusting for severity of positive and general mental health symptoms, greater reactivity to extreme stimuli (trustworthiness measure), BLERT negative affect accuracy, and AIHQ Blame Scores were associated with suicidal ideation at baseline. AIHQ Blame Scores also longitudinally predicted the presence of ideation 2 weeks later and were highest among participants with ideation across the two time points. The present findings provide support that biased interpretations, and, concurrently with ideation, reactivity and selective accuracy to negative stimuli, are associated with suicidal ideation in schizophrenia. Further understanding the role of social cognitive ability and biases on suicidal ideation could contribute to the understanding of social cognition as a treatment target in prevention of suicidal behavior in schizophrenia.

Keywords: Cognitive bias; Facial emotion recognition; Neuropsychology; Psychosis; Schizophrenia; Social cognition; Suicide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Facial Recognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Social Perception*
  • Suicidal Ideation*