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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


JETHA, Michelle K.; SCHMIDT, Louis A.  and  GOLDBERG, Joel O.. Stability of shyness, sociability, and social dysfunction in schizophrenia: A preliminary investigation of the influence of social skills training in a community-based stable outpatient sample. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.3, pp.189-198. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background: We previously noted a significantly higher degree of retrospective and contemporaneous shyness and sociability troubles in patients with schizophrenia than controls in a community-based stable outpatient sample and greater relative resting right frontal EEG activity (a trait marker of stress) in patients with schizophrenia who were shy. Objective: Here we conducted a preliminary investigation to examine the stability of shyness and sociability in a sample of 37 stable outpatients with schizophrenia, some of whom were either exposed (n = 17) or not exposed (n = 20) to weekly social skills training over a seven month period. Results: We found that shyness and sociability remained stable across all patients, although when the two groups were considered separately, only shyness remained stable in both groups. Sociability was not stable in those patients exposed to social skills training. We also found that, although measures of shyness indexed prior to exposure to the social skills training program significantly predicted pre- and post-social skills training measures, sociability was not related to pre- or post-social skills measures. Individuals with schizophrenia who scored high on trait shyness prior to exposure to social skills training still exhibited problems related to social adjustment following training. Conclusions: The present study appears to be the first to examine the stability of trait-like shyness in schizophrenia. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the stability of shyness and sociability and their role in the heterogeneity of symptom profiles and pervasive social dysfunction in community outpatients with schizophrenia.

Keywords : Shyness; Sociability; Social skills; Schizophrenia.

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