Social dysfunction in mood disorders and schizophrenia: Clinical modulators in four independent samples

Stefano Porcelli, Siegfried Kasper, Joseph Zohar, Daniel Souery, Stuart Montgomery, Panagiotis Ferentinos, Dan Rujescu, Julien Mendlewicz, Emilio Merlo Pich, Stephane Pollentier, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Alessandro Serretti

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Introduction: Social dysfunction is a common symptom of several neuropsychiatric disorders. However, only in the last few years research began to systematically investigate clinical aspects of this relevant outcome. Interestingly, its distribution and link with other clinical variables is still unclear. This study investigated social dysfunction in 4 different cohorts of patients affected by mood disorders and schizophrenia to evaluate 1) the degree of social dysfunction in these populations; 2) the associations among social dysfunction and socio-demographic and psychopathological features. Methods: Data from 4 independent studies (CATIE, GSRD ES1, ES2 and ES3, STAR*D, STEP-BD) were investigated. Behavioural and affective indicators of social dysfunction were derived and operationalized from scales or questionnaire items related to the interaction with relatives, friends and significant people in patients affected by schizophrenia (N = 765) and mood disorders (N = 2278 + 1954 + 1829). In particular the social dysfunction indicator was derived from Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) for GSRD sample, from the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS) for STAR*D sample, from the Life-Range of Impaired Functioning Tool (LRIFT) for STEP-BD sample, and from the Quality of Life Scale (QOLS) for CATIE sample. The distribution of social dysfunction was described and association with socio-demographic and psychopathological characteristics were analysed. Results: Social dysfunction indicators showed a broad distribution in all samples investigated. Consistently across studies, social dysfunction was associated with higher psychopathological severity (all samples except CATIE) and suicide risk (GSRD ES1 and ES2, STAR*D, and STEP-BD) that explain up to 47% of the variance, but also to lower education level (GSRD ES2, STAR*D, CATIE, and STEP-BD), poorer professional/work status (GSRD ES2 and ES3, STAR*D, CATIE, and STEP-BD), marital status (STAR*D and CATIE), age (younger age in GSRD ES1 and STAR*D, older age in CATIE), higher BMI (GSRD ES2 and ES3, and STEP-BD), and smoking (GSRD ES2 and ES3). Conclusion: Our results demonstrated that a significant percentage of patients affected by both mood disorders and schizophrenia shows relevant social dysfunction. Social dysfunction is related, but not completely explained by psychopathological severity. In several patients, it tends to persist also during remission state. Socio-demographic and lifestyle factors were also found to play a role and should therefore be taken into consideration in further studies investigating social dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109835
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020


  • Lifestyle factors
  • Mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social dysfunction
  • Socio-demographic factors

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