Increased assessment and treatment of comorbid depressive symptoms may improve functional outcomes in people with schizophrenia, according to a recent study. Researchers investigated demographic, cognitive, symptom, and functional capacity predictors of current functional status in 280 outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Functional decline over the lifespan was also examined in a subset of participants. They found:
- More severe depressive symptoms were consistently associated with worse current community integration (lower levels of close friendships and recreational engagement).
- Better working memory performance was associated with higher rates of current paid employment.
- There were no consistent modifiable predictors of decline in functioning, but women reported less functional decline in the domains of employment and close friendships than men.
- Better cognitive performance was associated with less decline in living independence and romantic relationships, but more decline in paid employment and recreational engagement.
Joseph J, Kremen WS, Franz CE, et al. Predictors of current functioning and functional decline in schizophrenia. [Published online ahead of print January 28, 2017]. Schizophr Res. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2017.01.038.