Men who have sex with men (MSM) in developing countries such as Mexico have received relatively little research attention. In Tijuana, Mexico, a border city experiencing a dynamic HIV epidemic, data on MSM are over a decade old. Our aims were to estimate the prevalence and examine correlates of HIV infection among MSM in this city.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of 191 MSM recruited through respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in 2012. Biological males over the age of 18 who resided in Tijuana and reported sex with a male in the past year were included. Participants underwent interviewer-administered surveys and rapid tests for HIV and syphilis with confirmation.
A total of 33 MSM tested positive for HIV, yielding an RDS-adjusted estimated 20% prevalence. Of those who tested positive, 89% were previously unaware of their HIV status. An estimated 36% (95% CI: 26.4–46.5) had been tested for HIV in the past year, and 30% (95% CI: 19.0–40.0) were estimated to have ever used methamphetamine. Independent correlates of being infected with HIV were methamphetamine use (odds ratio [OR]=2.24, p=0.045, 95% CI: 1.02, 4.92) and active syphilis infection (OR=4.33, p=0.01, 95% CI: 1.42, 13.19).
Our data indicate that MSM are a key sub-population in Tijuana at higher risk for HIV. Tijuana would also appear to have the highest proportion among upper-middle-income countries of HIV-positive MSM who are unknowingly infected. More HIV prevention research on MSM is urgently needed in Tijuana.
men who have sex with men; correlates of HIV infection; HIV prevalence; US–Mexico border; global public health; respondent-driven sampling
Dementia care giving can lead to increased stress, physical and psychosocial morbidity, and mortality. Anecdotal evidence suggests that hospice care provided to people with dementia and their caregivers may buffer caregivers from some of the adverse outcomes associated with family caregiving in Alzheimer's Disease (AD).
This pilot study examined psychological and physical outcomes among 32 spousal caregivers of patients with AD. It was hypothesized that caregivers who utilized hospice services would demonstrate better outcomes after the death of their spouse than caregivers who did not utilize hospice.
The charts of all spousal caregivers enrolled in a larger longitudinal study from 2001 to 2006 (N=120) were reviewed, and participants whose spouse had died were identified. Of these, those who received hospice care (n=10) were compared to those who did not (n=22) for various physiological and psychological measures of stress, both before and after the death of the care recipient. An Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), with postdeath scores as the dependent variable and pre-death scores as covariates, was used for all variables.
Significant group differences were found in postdeath depressive symptoms (HAM-D; F(1,29)=6.10, p<0.05) and anxiety symptoms (HAM-A; F(1,29)=5.71, p<0.05). Most psychological outcome variables demonstrated moderate effect sizes with a Cohen's d of>0.5 between groups.
These data suggest that hospice enrollment may ameliorate the detrimental psychological effects in caregivers who have lost a spouse with Alzheimer's Disease. Based on these pilot data, further prospective investigation is warranted.
This study aimed to validate the Computerized UCSD Performance-Based Skills Assessment (C-UPSA), a newly developed scale for assessing functional capacity in patients with schizophrenia.
The C-UPSA was administered to 21 middle-aged and older adults with schizophrenia and 20 healthy comparison (HC) subjects. Schizophrenia participants also completed the original UPSA and a symptom inventory (during a separate visit), and cognitive functioning was assessed in both groups using a brief neuropsychological screening battery.
The C-UPSA total score was significantly correlated with UPSA total scores, and the magnitude of the correlation was comparable to the test-retest reliability of the original UPSA. The C-UPSA was also significantly correlated with UPSA-Brief scores and neuropsychological status among schizophrenia participants. Furthermore, the schizophrenia group scored significantly lower than the HCs on the C-UPSA. ROC curves were generated to determine the optimal C-UPSA value for discriminating between the two groups, with results indicating an optimal cutoff of 75, which is consistent with the derived cutoff from the original UPSA. The C-UPSA identified persons with schizophrenia with 95% accuracy.
The C-UPSA appears to be highly related to the original UPSA. It has several advantages over the standard version, including increased portability, decreased administration time, and minimization of examiner impact on participant performance. Future research would benefit from establishing this test as a clinical and research tool to effectively assess functional capacity.
schizophrenia; computerized assessment; neuropsychology; functioning; rehabilitation; recovery
Neurocognitive impairment and negative symptoms contribute to functional disability in people with schizophrenia. Yet, a high level of unexplained variability remains after accounting for the role of these factors. This study examined the role of thought disorder, psychological complexity, and interpersonal representations, as measured by the Rorschach, in explaining functional and social skills capacity in 72 middle-aged and older outpatients with schizophrenia (mean age = 51.2). Participants responded to the Rorschach administered using the R-Optimized administration instructions and scored using the Rorschach Performance Assessment System. Relationships with neuropsychological performance and psychopathology were also explored. Psychological complexity, which refers to a person’s cognitive capacity for problem-solving and organizing their surroundings, was correlated with functional capacity (r = .30) and social skills capacity (r = .34). Healthy interpersonal representations were correlated with positive social skills (r’s = .24 to .28). In multiple regression models, psychological complexity accounted for significant variation in functional (β = 0.23, p = 0.02) and social skills capacity (β = 0.35, p < 0.01) after controlling for neurocognitive functioning and psychopathology. These data suggest that psychological complexity plays a significant role in the functional limitations seen in schizophrenia, above and beyond the contributions of neurocognitive impairment and negative symptoms. Support was also found for the impact of healthy object relations functioning with social functioning. Clinical implications include novel information for future development of cognitive remediation treatment strategies based on a patient’s developmental level of psychological capacity and healthy interpersonal schemas.
functional capacity; Rorschach Performance Assessment System; thought disorder; psychological complexity; interpersonal representations
Tijuana is situated on Mexico’s northern border with the U.S., where sex work is quasi-legal. Whereas previous work has focused on the risk behaviors of female sex workers (FSWs), less is known about the risk behaviors of their male clients. Further, research has not examined structural factors as moderators of the association between substance use and condom use, including the contexts in which sex takes place. The purpose of the current study is to examine whether having sex with FSWs in a bar moderates the link between alcohol intoxication during sex and condom use. We recruited 375 male clients of FSWs in Tijuana, Mexico from San Diego, California and Tijuana. Using computer assisted interviewing, we surveyed participants on their alcohol use, condom use, and physical contexts of sex with FSWs in the past four months. Results showed that more frequent intoxication during sex with FSWs is associated with more unprotected sex, but only among clients having sex with FSWs in a bar context. Results point to potential reasons for inconsistent condom use with FSWs in this context, including lower risk perceptions of sex with FSWs in bars. Future research should examine structural factors that underlie clients’ risk behavior in bars in order to inform structural-level HIV prevention interventions.
HIV risk; male clients; female sex workers; alcohol use; risk environment; structural interventions
Dementia caregiving is associated with elevations in depressive symptoms and increased risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). This study evaluated the efficacy of the Pleasant Events Program (PEP), a 6-week Behavioral Activation intervention designed to reduce CVD risk and depressive symptoms in caregivers. One hundred dementia family caregivers were randomized to either the 6-week PEP intervention (N=49) or a time-equivalent Information-Support (IS) control condition (N=51). Assessments were completed pre- and post-intervention and at 1-year follow-up. Biological assessments included CVD risk markers Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and D-dimer. Psychosocial outcomes included depressive symptoms, positive affect, and negative affect. Participants receiving the PEP intervention had significantly greater reductions in IL-6 (p=.040), depressive symptoms (p=.039), and negative affect (p=.021) from pre- to post-treatment. For IL-6, clinically significant improvement was observed in 20.0% of PEP participants and 6.5% of IS participants. For depressive symptoms, clinically significant improvement was found for 32.7% of PEP vs 11.8% of IS participants. Group differences in change from baseline to 1-year follow-up were non-significant for all outcomes. The PEP program decreased depression and improved a measure of physiological health in older dementia caregivers. Future research should examine the efficacy of PEP for improving other CVD biomarkers and seek to sustain the intervention’s effects.
Depression; Cardiovascular Disease; Alzheimer’s Disease; Intervention; Treatment
Although cognitive ability is a known predictor of real-world functioning in schizophrenia, there has been an expanded interest in understanding the mechanisms by which it explains real-world functioning in this population. We examined the extent to which functional capacity (i.e., skills necessary to live independently) mediated the relationship between cognitive ability and both observer and self-reported real-world functioning in 138 outpatients with schizophrenia. Functional capacity significantly mediated the relations between cognitive ability and observer rated real world functioning, but not self-reported real world functioning, with small to medium effect sizes observed for all outcomes. The role of cognitive ability in observer vs. self-reported real-world functioning may be explained by different mechanisms.
Functioning; Impairment; Cognition; Self-report; Observer report
Vocational functioning is markedly impaired in people with schizophrenia. In addition to low rates of employment, people with schizophrenia have been reported to be underachieved compared to other family members. Among the causes of this vocational impairment may be cognitive deficits and other skills deficits, as well as social factors impacting on opportunities for employment. In this study, we examined two separate samples of people with schizophrenia who differed in their educational and social backgrounds. We compared personal and maternal education in people with schizophrenia attending an outpatient rehabilitation facility (n = 57) or receiving outpatient services at a VA medical center (n = 39). The sample as a whole showed evidence of decline in vocational status from their best job to their most recent job. Patients attending a rehabilitation facility had completed less education than their mothers, while the VA patients completed more. Differences between personal and maternal education predicted the difference in status between best and latest jobs in the sample as a whole. VA patients were more likely to be living independently and performed better on a measure of functional capacity than the rehabilitation sample. These data implicate vocational decline in schizophrenia and also suggest that this decline may originate prior to the formal onset of the illness. At the same time, vocational outcomes appear to be related to social opportunities.
Schizophrenia; Employment; Education; Cognition
Research has focused on male clients of female sex workers (FSWs) and their risk for HIV/STIs. Yet, it is unclear whether the commercial sex behaviors of these men are limited to paying for sex, or whether they may also be paid for sex themselves.
We analyzed interview data and HIV/STI test results from 170 drug-using male clients of FSWs in Tijuana, Mexico, to determine the extent to which these men report being paid for sex and the association with positive HIV/STI results.
Over one-quarter of men reported having been paid for sex in the past four months. In a multivariate logistic regression model, reporting having been paid for sex was significantly associated with testing positive for any HIV/STI (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AdjOR] 3.53, 95% C.I. 1.33–9.35), being bisexual (AdjOR 15.59, 95% C.I. 4.81–50.53), injection drug use in the past four months (AdjOR 2.65, 95% C.I. 1.16–6.03), and cocaine use in the past four months (AdjOR 2.93, 95% C.I. 1.22–7.01).
Findings suggest that drug-using male clients of FSWs may be characterized by unique risk profiles that require tailored HIV prevention interventions.
HIV transmission; male clients; female sex workers; drug use; Mexico
A substantial proportion of chronically stressed informal caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients report experiencing fatigue. The objective of this study was to examine whether personal mastery moderates the relationship between caregiving status (caregiver/non-caregiver) and multiple dimensions of fatigue.
Seventy-three elderly Alzheimer’s caregivers and 41 elderly non-caregivers completed the short form of the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory (MFSI-SF) and questionnaires assessing mastery.
Regression analyses indicate that global fatigue scores were significantly higher for caregivers (M = 38.0 ± 21.0) compared to non-caregivers (M = 18.2 ± 10.4). However, personal mastery moderated the relations between caregiving status and global fatigue (t = −2.03, df = 107, p = .045), such that for those with low mastery, caregivers’ fatigue scores were 18.1 points higher than non-caregivers, and for those with high mastery, this difference was only 7.5 points. For specific dimensions of fatigue, mastery moderated the relations between caregiving status and both Emotional (t = −2.01, df = 107, p = .047) and Physical (t = −2.51, df = 107, p = .014) fatigue. Specifically, association between caregiving status and emotional fatigue was greater when mastery was low than when mastery was high. In regards to physical fatigue, caregiving status was significantly associated with physical fatigue when mastery was low, but was not when mastery was high. Significant main effects were found between mastery and general fatigue and vigor.
Given the high proportion of caregivers who experience fatigue and the impact that fatigue can have on health; these findings provide important information regarding mastery’s relationship with fatigue and may potentially inform interventions aiming to alleviate fatigue in caregivers.
Alzheimer’s Disease; Caregiving; Fatigue; Control; Coping; Exhaustion
While methamphetamine users report high rates of internalized or self-stigma, few studies have examined experiences of stigma (i.e., stigmatization by others) and its correlates.
This study identified correlates of stigma experiences in a sample of 438 HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) who were enrolled in a sexual risk reduction intervention in San Diego, CA.
Approximately 96% of the sample reported experiences of stigma related to their use of methamphetamine. In multiple regression analysis, experiences of stigma were associated with binge use of methamphetamine, injection drug use, increased anger symptoms, reduced emotional support, and lifetime treatment for methamphetamine use.
These findings suggest that experiences of stigma are common among methamphetamine users and that interventions to address this type of stigma and its correlates may offer social, psychological, and health benefits to HIV-positive methamphetamine-using MSM.
Stigma experiences; Methamphetamine; Men who have sex with men; HIV
Although functional capacity is typically diminished, there is substantial heterogeneity in functional outcomes in schizophrenia. Motivational factors likely play a significant role in bridging the capacity-to-functioning gap. Self-efficacy theory suggests that although some individuals may have the capacity to perform functional behaviors, they may or may not have confidence they can successfully perform these behaviors in real-world settings. We hypothesized that the relationship between functional capacity and real-world functioning would be moderated by the individual’s self-efficacy in a sample of 97 middle-aged and older adults with schizophrenia (mean age = 50.9 ± 6.5 years). Functional capacity was measured using the Brief UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment (UPSA-B), self-efficacy with the Revised Self-Efficacy Scale, and Daily Functioning via the Specific Level of Functioning (SLOF) scale and self-report measures. Results indicated that when self-efficacy was low, the relationship between UPSA-B and SLOF scores was not significant (P = .727). However, when self efficacy was high, UPSA-B scores were significantly related to SLOF scores (P = .020). Similar results were observed for self-reported social and work functioning. These results suggest that motivational processes (ie, self-efficacy) may aid in understanding why some individuals have the capacity to function well but do not translate this capacity into real-world functioning. Furthermore, while improvement in capacity may be necessary for improved functioning in this population, it may not be sufficient when motivation is absent.
functioning; psychosis; motivation; control; recovery
A combination of high engagement in pleasurable activities and low perceived activity restriction is potentially protective for a number of health and quality of life outcomes. This study tests the newly proposed Pleasant Events and Activity Restriction (PEAR) model to explain level of blood pressure (BP) in a sample of elderly dementia caregivers.
This cross-sectional study included 66 caregivers, ≥ 55 years of age, providing in-home care to a relative with dementia. Planned comparisons were made to assess group differences in BP between caregivers reporting high engagement in pleasant events plus low perceived activity restriction (HPLR; N = 22) to those with low pleasure plus high restriction (LPHR; N = 23) or those with either high pleasure plus high restriction or low pleasure plus low restriction (HPHR/LPLR; N = 21).
After adjustments for age, sex, body mass index, use of anti-hypertensive medication, physical activity, and number of health problems, HPLR participants (86.78 mm Hg) had significantly lower mean arterial pressure compared to LPHR participants (94.70 mm Hg) (p = .01, Cohen’s d=0.89) and HPHR/LPLR participants (94.84 mm Hg) (p = .023, d=0.91). Similar results were found in post-hoc comparisons of both systolic and diastolic BP.
This study extends support for the PEAR model to physical health outcomes. Differences in BP between the HPLR group and other groups were of large magnitude and thus clinically meaningful. The findings may inform intervention studies aimed at investigating whether increasing pleasant events and lowering perceived activity restriction may lower BP.
Alzheimer’s disease; dementia caregiving; behavioral activation; coping; elderly
Although neurocognition is commonly described in terms of different functional domains, some factor analytic studies have suggested a simpler dimensional structure for neuropsychological (NP) tests in patients with schizophrenia. Standardized tasks of everyday functioning, or tests of “functional capacity” (FC), are viewed differently from traditional NP tests, and are hence used as a co-primary measure in treatment studies. However, FC and NP tests have been found to be highly correlated. In fact, a recent study of ours suggested that performances on these different types of tasks constituted a single latent trait in a cross-sectional analysis. The current study examined the longitudinal factor structure of a combined set of NP and FC tests. Patients with schizophrenia (n=195) were examined at two assessment occasions separated by periods ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months. Participants were assessed with the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and two performance-based assessments of FC. A single latent trait was extracted using full information maximum likelihood procedures, and its temporal stability was examined in terms of: stability of the latent trait scores, the intercorrelations of the three indicators of the latent trait, and the stability of loadings for the FC and NP items underlying the latent trait at the two measurement occasions. All indices of temporal stability were confirmed, with stability not related to follow-up duration. Variation in clinical symptoms and treatments across the measurement occasions was negligible. These findings raise the question of whether cognitive abilities measured by NP tests and FC instruments are tapping a single ability construct, which might have shared causal influences as well.
Neuropsychology; Disability; Latent Traits; Longitudinal Studies; Functional capacity; Linear models
To gain insights into bridging behaviors and their correlates among male clients of female sex workers (FSWs).
Men aged ≥18 years who recently paid or traded for sex with FSWs were recruited in Tijuana in 2008–2009. Participants underwent interviews and testing for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Logistic regression compared “bridgers” (clients who had unprotected sex with FSWs and with a wife or steady partner) with men who did not.
Of 383 men, 134 (35%) had a steady partner. Half (n = 70) of those had unprotected sex with both FSWs and the steady partner. Prevalence of any STI or HIV was 16.5% among bridgers and 2.3% among non-bridgers. Compared to other clients, bridgers were more likely to use drugs during sex with FSWs (81.4% versus 46.9%, p < 0.0001), had higher sensation-seeking (p < 0.0001) and misogyny scores (p = 0.05), and were more likely to offer FSWs extra money for unprotected sex (34.4% versus 1.6%, p < 0.0001). Factors independently associated with bridging were: using drugs during sex with FSWs (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 3.4, p = 0.007), sensation-seeking (AOR: 4.3 per unit increase, p = 0.05), and offering FSWs more money for unprotected sex (AOR: 24.5, p = 0.003).
Sensation-seeking clients who use drugs during sex and coerce FSWs into unprotected sex may be less responsive to standard risk reduction interventions. Interventions are needed that target clients rather than rely on FSWs to change behaviors that may not be under their control.
male clients; bridging behavior; female sex workers; HIV transmission; prevention; Mexico
The objective of this study was to examine medical illness and anxiety, depressive, and somatic symptoms in older medical patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
A case-control study was designed and conducted in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Geriatrics Clinics. A total of fifty-four older medical patients with GAD and 54 matched controls participated.
The measurements used for this study include: Brief Symptom Inventory – 18, Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, and the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule.
Older medical patients with GAD reported higher levels of somatic symptoms, anxiety, and depression than other older adults, as well as higher rates of diabetes and gastrointestinal conditions. In a multivariate model that included somatic symptoms, medical conditions, and depressive and anxiety symptoms, anxiety symptoms were the only significant predictors of GAD.
These results suggest first, that older medical patients with GAD do not primarily express distress as somatic symptoms; second, that anxiety symptoms in geriatric patients should not be discounted as a byproduct of medical illness or depression; and third, that older adults with diabetes and gastrointestinal conditions may benefit from screening for anxiety.
elderly; somatization; depression
To investigate the prevalence and correlates of concurrent (overlapping) sexual partnerships among female sex workers (FSWs) and their non-commercial male partners in two Mexico-U.S. border cities.
A cross-sectional survey of FSWs and their non-commercial male partners was conducted in Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (2010–2011). Eligible FSWs and verified non-commercial partners were aged ≥18 years; FSWs had ever used hard drugs (lifetime) and recently exchanged sex for money, drugs, or other goods (past month). Participants underwent baseline questionnaires obtaining dates of sex and condom use with ≤5 other recurring partners, including FSWs’ regular clients. These dates were compared to dates of sex with enrolled study partners to determine overlap (i.e., “recurring” concurrency). Bivariate probit regression identified recurring concurrency correlates.
Among 428 individuals (214 couples), past-year recurring concurrency prevalence was 16% and was higher among women than their non-commercial male partners (26% vs. 6%). In 10 couples (5%), both partners reported recurring concurrency. The majority of couples (64%) always had unprotected sex, and most of the individuals (70%) with recurring concurrency “sometimes” or “never” used condoms with their concurrent partners. Recurring concurrency was positively associated with FSWs’ income, men’s caballerismo (a form of traditional masculinity), and men’s belief that their FSW-partners had STIs.
Recurring concurrency, representing sustained periods of overlapping partnerships in which unprotected sex was common, should be addressed by couple-based STI prevention interventions.
Sexual behavior; concurrent sexual partners; sexually transmitted diseases/*transmission; epidemiology; cross-sectional study
Despite multiple lines of evidence suggesting that people with schizophrenia tend to overestimate their ability to perform everyday tasks such as money management, self-report methods are still widely used to assess functioning. In today’s technology driven financial world patients are faced with increasingly complex financial management tasks. To meet these challenges adequate financial skills are required. Thus, accurate assessments of these abilities are critical to decisions regarding a patient’s need for support such as a financial trustee. As part of the larger VALERO study, 195 patients with schizophrenia were asked to self-report their everyday financial skills (five common financial tasks) with the Independent Living Skills Survey (ILSS). They were also assessed with performance-based measures of neuro-cognition and functional capacity with a focus on financial skills. In addition, a friend, relative, or clinician informant was interviewed with the ILSS and a best estimate rating of functioning was generated. Scores on the performance-based measures of financial skills and neuropsychological tests were uncorrelated with self-reported financial activities. Interviewer and all informant judgments of financial abilities were also minimally correlated with performance on functional skills tests. Discrete financial skills appear to be challenging for clinicians to rate with accuracy without the use of direct assessments. Direct assessment of financial skills seems prudent when making determinations about the need for guardianship or other financial supervision.
Female drug dealers have been a neglected population despite their potentially elevated risk for social, legal, family, and psychological health problems. This study examined correlates of drug-dealing behavior in a sample of 209 female methamphetamine users in San Diego, CA. Twenty-five percent of the sample reported dealing methamphetamine in the past 2 months. Women who dealt methamphetamine were significantly more likely than their nondealing counterparts to have started using illicit drugs before the age of 13 years (68 % versus 44.7 %, p = .003); to have been introduced to methamphetamine by a parent (15.1 % versus 5.8 %, p = .037); and to report currently using methamphetamine to stay awake (84.9 % versus 64.7 %, p = .004), enhance self-confidence (62.3 % versus 45.5 %, p = .025), and feel more attractive (54.7 % versus 38.5 %, p = .029). In a multivariate logistic regression, factors independently associated with methamphetamine dealing were: having a spouse or live-in partner (Adjusted Odds Ratio, AOR = 2.89), using methamphetamine with a broader range of types of person (AOR = 1.46), and reporting lower levels of emotional support (AOR = 0.57). These findings suggest that female methamphetamine dealers are in urgent need of access to substance use treatment, therapies to enhance self-worth and emotional support, and family-based substance use prevention interventions for dependent children and those at risk.
Methamphetamine; Dealers; Women; Emotional support; Self-concept
Male clients of female sex workers (FSWs) are at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We conducted a two-arm randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of a sexual risk reduction intervention for male clients of FSWs in Tijuana, Mexico.
Male clients of FSWs who were at least 18, were HIV-negative at baseline, and reported recent unprotected sex with FSWs were randomized to the Hombre Seguro sexual risk reduction intervention, or a time-attention didactic control condition. Each condition lasted approximately one hour. Participants underwent interviewer-administered surveys and testing for HIV and other STIs at baseline, and at 4, 8, and 12 month follow-ups. Combined HIV/STI incidence and unprotected vaginal and anal sex acts with FSWs were the primary outcomes.
A total of 400 participants were randomized to one of the two conditions. Analyses indicated that randomization was successful; there were no significant differences between the participants in the two conditions at baseline. Average follow-up was 84% across both conditions. This is the first study to test the efficacy of a sexual risk reduction intervention for male clients of FSWs using the rigor of a randomized controlled trial.
NCT01280838, Date of registration: January 19, 2011.
Between 50–80% of patients with schizophrenia do not believe they have any illness and self assessment of cognitive impairments and functional abilities is also impaired compared to other information, including informant reports and scores on performance-based ability measures. The present paper explores self- assessment accuracy in reference to real world functioning as measured by milestone achievement such as employment and independent living. Our sample included 195 people with schizophrenia examined with a performance-based assessment of neurocognitive abilities and functional capacity. We compared patient self-assessments across achievement of milestones, using patient performance on cognitive and functional capacity measures as a reference point. Performance on measures of functional capacity and cognition was better in people who had achieved employment and residential milestones. Patients with current employment and independence in residence rated themselves as more capable than those who were currently unemployed or not independent. However, individuals who had never had a job rated themselves as at least as capable as those who had been previously employed. These data suggest that lifetime failure to achieve functional milestones is associated with overestimation of abilities. As many patients with schizophrenia never achieve milestones, their self-assessment may be overly optimistic as a result
Cognition; insight; disability; functional capacity
The MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) and proposed co-primary measures are gaining momentum as outcome measures in clinical trials, highlighting the need to evaluate their psycho-metric properties. The MCCB composite score has been proposed to be the optimal primary outcome measure, though its validity is unknown. This study aimed to evaluate the factor structure of the MCCB in a schizophrenia sample and determine whether its cognitive domains are separable.
183 outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder completed a comprehensive test battery. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test the factor structure of the MCCB; hierarchical regression then examined the relative contribution of individual cognitive variables to predict the MCCB factor scores. Finally, the relationships between the resulting factors and two performance-based measures of functional capacity were explored.
A three-factor MCCB model representing processing speed, attention/working memory, and learning fits the data well and was an improvement over a unifactorial model. Symbol coding, spatial span, and visual learning were the most robust predictors for each of the three factors; symbol coding proved to be the best single predictor of overall cognitive performance. The three factors were also significantly related to a performance-based measure of everyday functioning but not a performance-based measure of social skills.
These analyses suggest that the six MCCB “domains” as constructed can be collapsed into fewer domains composed of multiple item scores; they also support the notion that impaired processing speed is a fundamental cognitive deficit in schizophrenia and that MCCB performance is related to functional capacity. Cognition and functional capacity measures require more research to determine if they differ.
Cognition; Everyday functioning; Schizophrenia; MCCB; UPSA-B
Retrospective reports of children’s relationships with their parents have been associated with increased risk for depressive symptoms in adulthood. This study examined four dimensions of the current mother-child relationship (affection, criticism, over-involvement, conflict) in relation to depressive symptoms in a sample of 270 HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM). Depressive symptoms were positively associated with overt conflict or disagreement with mothers and perceived over-involvement by mothers, and inversely related to frequency of contact with mothers. These findings suggest that clinicians who treat HIV-positive methamphetamine-using MSM with depressive symptoms should evaluate issues in the mother-son relationship and consider family-based therapies as an adjunct to treatment.
depressive symptoms; methamphetamine; men who have sex with men; HIV; maternal relationship