Social cognition and interaction training for recent-onset schizophrenia: A preliminary randomized trial

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2021 Feb;15(1):206-212. doi: 10.1111/eip.12944. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


Comprehensive social cognition training programs have been effective to improve social cognition in people with chronic schizophrenia, although there is insufficient quality evidence for recent-onset psychosis. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT) in a sample of recent-onset schizophrenia outpatients. Sixteen participants who had their first psychotic episode for less than 2 years were randomly allocated to the SCIT group during 20 weeks (weekly sessions) or to a psychoeducation group and completed baseline and post-training assessment for cognitive biases, social cognition, clinical symptoms and functioning. Permutation-based analysis revealed improvements in overall functioning (P = 0.036) and blame score (P = 0.070) in the SCIT group compared to the psychoeducation intervention, with large effect sizes (d = 1.438 and d = 1.204, respectively). There were also large effect sizes for hostility, emotion recognition, social perception, positive and total symptoms (d = 0.833-1.158). These results suggest that SCIT may be an effective tool to improve attributional biases and functional outcomes in recent-onset schizophrenia outpatients. Future controlled trials with larger sample size and follow-up assessments should be developed to further understand effective intervention outcomes for this population.

Keywords: early intervention; recent-onset; rehabilitation; schizophrenia; social cognition.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Psychotic Disorders*
  • Schizophrenia* / therapy
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Perception