History of abuse has been associated with greater HIV risk among women. This study examined client-perpetrated abuse among female sex workers (FSWs) in two Mexico-U.S. border cities where HIV prevalence is rising. Among 924 FSWs, prevalence of client-perpetrated abuse was 31%. In multivariate logistic regression models, intimate partner violence, psychological distress and having drug-using clients were associated with experiencing client-perpetrated abuse. FSWs along the Mexico-U.S. border report frequently experiencing abuse from both clients and intimate partners, which may have serious mental health consequences. Our findings suggest the need for screening and gender-based violence prevention services for Mexican FSWs.
Client-perpetrated abuse; Female sex workers; Hispanic women; HIV risk
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
Female sex workers (FSWs) experience elevated risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through unprotected sex with male clients, yet the complexity of these commercial relationships remains understudied. From 2010 to 2011, we explored FSWs’ conceptualizations of various client types and related risk behavior patterns using semistructured interviews with 46 FSWs in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where FSWs’ HIV/STI prevalence is increasing. Our grounded theory analysis identified four types of commercial relationships: nonregular clients, regular clients and friends, clients who “fell in love” with FSWs, and long-term financial providers who often originated from the United States. As commercial relationships developed, clients’ social and emotional connections to FSWs increased, rendering condom negotiation and maintaining professional boundaries more difficult. Drug abuse and poverty also influenced behaviors, particularly in Ciudad Juárez, where lucrative U.S. clients were increasingly scarce. While struggling to cultivate dependable relationships in a setting marked by historical sex tourism from a wealthier country, some FSWs ceased negotiating condom use. We discuss the need for HIV/STI research and prevention interventions to recognize the complexity within FSWs’ commercial relationships and how behaviors (e.g., condom use) evolve as relationships develop through processes that are influenced by local sociopolitical contexts and binational income inequality.
People with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are at greater risk for obesity and other cardio-metabolic risks, and several prior studies have linked these risks to poorer cognitive ability. In a large ethnically homogenous outpatient sample, we examined associations among variables related to obesity, treated hypertension and/or diabetes, and cognitive abilities in these two patient populations.
In a study cohort of outpatients with either bipolar disorder (n = 341) or schizophrenia (n = 417), we investigated the association of self-reported body mass index and current use of medications for hypertension or diabetes with performance on a comprehensive neurocognitive battery. We examined sociodemographic and clinical factors as potential covariates.
Patients with bipolar disorder were less likely to be overweight or obese than patients with schizophrenia, and also less likely to be prescribed medication for hypertension or diabetes. However, obesity and treated hypertension were associated with worse global cognitive ability in bipolar disorder (as well as with poorer performance on individual tests of processing speed, reasoning/problem-solving, and sustained attention), with no such relationships observed in schizophrenia. Obesity was not associated with symptom severity in either group.
Although less prevalent in bipolar disorder compared to schizophrenia, obesity was associated with substantially worse cognitive performance in bipolar disorder. This association was independent of symptom severity and not present in schizophrenia. Better understanding of the mechanisms and management of obesity may aid in efforts to preserve cognitive health in bipolar disorder.
bipolar disorder; diabetes; health risk factors; hypertension; neuropsychology; obesity; psychosis
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
Male clients of female sex workers (FSWs) in Tijuana, Mexico engage in high levels of unprotected sex. While behavioral change theories posit that self-efficacy predicts condom use, correlates of self-efficacy for condom use remain largely unstudied. We examined these correlates among male clients of FSWs in Tijuana. Eligible male clients were at least 18 years of age, HIV-negative, lived in Tijuana or San Diego, reported unprotected sex with a Tijuana FSW at least once in the past four months, and agreed to be treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Participants completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire including demographics, substance use, psychosocial and psychosexual characteristics (e.g., outcome expectancies for negotiation of safer sex, social support, and sexual sensation seeking), and sexual behaviors. Participants also underwent HIV/STI testing. A stepwise hierarchical multiple regression analysis identified correlates of self-efficacy for condom use. Of 393 male clients, median age was 37 years. Participants were mostly Spanish-speaking and employed. Factors independently associated with higher self-efficacy for condom use were higher positive outcome expectancies for negotiation of safer sex, lower sexual sensation seeking scores, and higher social support scores. Both psychosocial and psychosexual factors may influence self-efficacy for condom use among male clients of FSWs. These factors represent central constructs in sociocognitive models that explain behavioral change and could be intervention targets for improving self-efficacy for condom use and, ultimately, safer sex behavior.
Condom use; self-efficacy; HIV prevention; sex workers; prostitution
This study aimed to further elucidate the biobehavioral mechanisms linking dementia caregiving with an increased cardiovascular disease risk. We hypothesized that both elevated depressive symptoms and a behavioral correlate of depression, low leisure satisfaction, are associated with systemic inflammation.
We studied 121 elderly Alzheimer’s disease caregivers who underwent 4 annual assessments for depressive symptoms, leisure satisfaction, and circulating levels of inflammatory markers. We used mixed-regression analyses controlling for sociodemographic and health-relevant covariates to examine longitudinal relationships between constructs of interest.
There were inverse relationships between total leisure satisfaction and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α; p = .047), interleukin-8 (IL-8; p < .001), and interferon-γ (IFG; p = .020) but not with IL-6 (p = .21) and C-reactive protein (p = .65). Lower enjoyment from leisure activities was related to higher levels of TNF-α (p = .045), IL-8 (p < .001), and IFG (p = .002), whereas lower frequency of leisure activities was related only to higher IL-8 levels (p = .023). Depressive symptoms were not associated with any inflammatory marker (all p values > .17). Depressive symptoms did not mediate the relationship between leisure satisfaction and inflammation.
Lower satisfaction with leisure activities is related to higher low-grade systemic inflammation. This knowledge may provide a promising way of improving cardiovascular health in dementia caregivers through behavioral activation treatments targeting low leisure satisfaction.
Biomarkers; Blood coagulation; Cardiovascular disease; Depression; Inflammation; Psychological stress.
Caregivers of dementia patients are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), and this risk increases the longer they provide care. Greater perceptions that caregiving restricts social/recreational activities (i.e., activity restriction [AR]) has been associated with poorer health, and AR may exacerbate the relations between stress and health outcomes. The current study examined the interactive role of greater exposure to stress and increased AR on plasma catecholamine (CAT) levels: norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (EPI).
A total of 84 dementia caregivers completed a standard assessment battery, and a nurse collected blood, which was assayed for NE and EPI. Separate regressions for NE and EPI were used to determine whether the relations between years caregiving and CATs were greater in those with high versus low AR.
A significant interaction was found between years caregiving and AR in predicting resting EPI (p = .032) but not resting NE (p = .103). Post hoc analyses indicated that years caregiving was significantly associated with EPI when AR was high (p = .008) but not when AR was low (p = .799). Additionally, years caregiving was not significantly associated with NE when AR was high or low.
The subjective experience of AR can play an important role in determining risk for detrimental physical health outcomes, particularly CVD risk.
Activity restriction; Catecholamines; SNS; Stress.
Disclosure of STI/HIV results to sexual partners in Mexico is left to the individual as public health guidelines do not mandate disclosure. To assess the feasibility of couples-based STI/HIV testing with facilitated disclosure as a risk reduction strategy within female sex workers’ (FSWs) primary partnerships, we examined current STI/HIV test result disclosure patterns between FSWs and their primary, non-commercial male partners in Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, two Mexico-U.S. border cities.
In a cohort study (2010–2013), 330 participants (178 FSWs and 152 primary male partners) were followed for 24 months. At semi-annual visits, participants were tested for STIs/HIV and reported on their disclosure of test results from the prior visit. Multilevel logistic regression for dyadic data was used to identify individual- and partnership-level predictors of cumulative STI/HIV test result disclosure within couples during follow-up (disclosed all results vs. did not disclose ≥1 result).
Eighty-seven percent of participants reported disclosing all STI/HIV test results to their primary partners. Non-disclosure of ≥1 STI/HIV test result was more common among participants who reported an STI/HIV diagnosis as part of the study (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=3.54, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18–10.60), those in longer-duration partnerships (AOR=1.11 per year, 95% CI: 1.01–1.21), and those who used drugs before/during sex within partnerships (AOR=3.71, 95% CI: 1.16–11.86). Non-disclosure was less common among participants who injected drugs (AOR=0.27, 95% CI: 0.09–0.80).
STI/HIV test result disclosure was highly prevalent within FSWs’ primary partnerships, suggesting couples-based STI/HIV testing with facilitated disclosure may be feasible for these and potentially other socially-marginalized couples.
Female sex workers; couples-based research; intimate partnerships; STI/HIV; Mexico
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
Previously institutionalized older patients with schizophrenia show changes in cognitive and functional capacity over time. This study examined changes in real-world functioning in a sample of people with schizophrenia who varied in their history of long-term institutionalization and related changes in real world functioning to changes in cognition and functional capacity over the follow-up period.
Older patients with schizophrenia (n=111) were examined with assessments of cognitive functioning, functional capacity, clinical symptoms, and everyday functioning. They were then followed up to 45 months and examined up to two times. Mixed-model regression was used to examine changes in real-world functioning in social, everyday living, and vocational domains over the follow-up period and identify potential predictors of change.
Everyday functioning worsened over time in all three domains. Although length of longest hospitalization predicted worsening, this influence was eliminated when the course of functional capacity was used to predict the course of everyday functioning. For both vocational and everyday living domains, as well as the composite score on functional status, worsening in performance based measures of everyday functioning and social competence predicted worsening in real world functioning. Changes in negative symptoms further predicted worsening in the everyday living domain.
Worsening in everyday functioning is found in people with schizophrenia and those with a history of greater chronicity and severity of illness seem more affected. These influences seem to be expressed through worsening in the ability to perform everyday functional skills. Potential causes of these changes and implications for reducing these impairments are discussed.
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
To examine efficacy of a brief behavioral intervention to promote condom use among female sex workers (FSWs) in two Mexico-U.S. border cities.
924 FSWs aged ≥18 years without known HIV infection living in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez having recent unprotected sex with clients were randomized to a 30 minute behavioral intervention integrating motivational interviewing and principles of behavior change, or a didactic control condition. At baseline and six months, women underwent interviews and testing for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Comparing intervention versus control groups, we observed a 40% decline in cumulative STI incidence (p=0.049). Incidence density for the intervention vs. control was 13.8 vs 24.92 per 100 person years (py) for STIs combined (p=0.034), and 0 vs. 2.01 per 100 py for HIV (p<0.001), with concomitant increases in total numbers and percentages of protected sex acts and decreases in total numbers of unprotected sex acts with clients (p<0.05).
This brief behavioral intervention shows promise in reducing HIV/STI risk behaviors among FSWs in two Mexican-U.S border cities, and may be transferable to other resource-constrained settings.
sex work; prostitute; HIV; sexually transmitted infections; condoms; Mexico
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
While many studies have examined correlates of trading sex for money, few have examined factors associated with exclusive trading of sex for drugs. We identified sociodemographic, behavioral, and psychological correlates of trading sex for methamphetamine in a sample of HIV-negative heterosexual men and women who were enrolled in a sexual risk reduction intervention in San Diego, California. Of 342 participants, 26% overall (21% of males and 31% of females) reported trading sex for methamphetamine in the past two months. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that recently trading sex for methamphetamine was independently associated with being female, homeless, binging on methamphetamine, sexual victimization in the past two months, engaging in anal sex 24 or more times in the past two months, and higher sexual compulsivity scores. Effective interventions for this high-risk population should consider gender-focused counseling for sexual abuse, motivational enhancement therapy, social-cognitive skills training, as well as enhanced access and utilization of social services, including drug treatment.
sex trading; methamphetamine; heterosexual; sexual risk behavior
Drug assertiveness skills have been demonstrated effective in reducing substance use behaviors among patients with alcohol- or heroin-use disorders. This study examined the association between drug assertiveness and methamphetamine use, psychological factors, and sexual risk behaviors in a sample of 250 HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) enrolled in a safer sex intervention in San Diego, CA. Less assertiveness in turning down drugs was associated with greater frequency and larger amounts of methamphetamine use, lower self-esteem, higher scores on a measure of sexual sensation-seeking, and greater attendance at risky sexual venues. These data suggest that drug assertiveness training should be incorporated into drug abuse treatment programs and other risk reduction interventions for methamphetamine users.
drug assertiveness behavior; methamphetamine; sexual risk behavior; men who have sex with men; HIV-positive
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.
Previous research among drug-using men who have sex with men (MSM) indicates that trading sex for methamphetamine may be common.
This study identified background characteristics, substance use variables, contextual factors, and sexual risk behaviors associated with trading sex for methamphetamine in a sample of HIV-positive MSM. Baseline data were gathered from 155 participants who were enrolled in a sexual risk-reduction intervention. Logistic regression was used to compare MSM who traded sex for methamphetamine with men who did not.
Forty-three percent of the sample reported trading sex for methamphetamine in the past 2 months. Trading sex for methamphetamine was associated with being a binge user, homelessness, having an income of less than $20,000 per year, being less assertive at turning down drugs, engaging in more anal sex without a condom, and seeking out risky sex partners when high on methamphetamine.
Conclusions and Scientific Significance
These data suggest that the trading of sex for methamphetamine may be a primary source of new HIV infections within and outside of the MSM community, necessitating targeted interventions with this vulnerable subgroup.
methamphetamine; trading sex; men who have sex with men; sexual risk behavior
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