There is a review on social factors in schizophrenia by Jill Hooley which is freely available here. Hooley begins by introducing the concept of social competence and provides convincing evidence that this is a useful construct to consider. She then goes on to describe the constituents of social competence – the social skillset and social problem solving along with the evidence pointing to impairments in these areas in people with schizophrenia.The effects of gender on social competence as well as the relationships with friends and family are also discussed before Hooley finishes with a look at the effects of social skills training. The evidence cited here is quite positive in outlook. In the discussion Hooley draws comparisons between Schizophrenia and Asperger Syndrome and there could probably be a rich exchange of ideas and understanding between the associated fields of research. Throughout the paper schizophrenia is referred to as a broad category and it would be interesting to see how the central arguments are modified according to the subtype of schizophrenia. What would also be interesting would be a look at outliers who still qualify for the diagnosis but maintain social competence or excel in social interactions. In summary, I thought this was a concise and useful introduction to social factors in schizophrenia.
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