Social cognition in first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia: a meta-analysis.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Psychiatry Res, Volume 209, Issue 2, p.129-35 (2013)


Cognition Disorders, Databases, Factual, Emotions, Family, Humans, Intelligence, Schizophrenia, Schizophrenic Psychology, Social Behavior, Social Perception, Theory of Mind


<p>Social cognition is affected in people with schizophrenia, but whether this is the case for healthy relatives of these patients is less clear. The presence of social cognition impairments in relatives would suggest a potential genetic role of social cognition in schizophrenia. To determine whether social cognition is affected in first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia and examine the impact of potential moderator variables, a meta-analysis of studies investigating at least one domain of social cognition (mentalizing, emotional processing, social perception, social knowledge and/or attributional style) in adult first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia was performed. Our inclusion criteria were satisfied by 29 studies, of which 11 evaluated mentalizing, 20 emotional processing, and two social perception. Moderate mean effect sizes were obtained for these three components. Across all studies, effect sizes were significantly correlated with IQ and age differences between groups, calling for careful group matching for future studies. Overall, the results from this meta-analysis highlight that social cognition is globally affected in first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia, suggesting that social cognition deficits in schizophrenia may be related to a genetic vulnerability for the disorder.</p>

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