Psychotic symptoms, cognition and affect as predictors of psychosocial problems and functional change in first-episode psychosis

Luyken H. Stouten*, Wim Veling, Winfried Laan, Mischa van der Helm, Mark van der Gaag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To enable further understanding of how cognitive deficits and psychopathology impact psychosocial functioning in first-episode psychosis patients, we investigated how psychopathology and cognitive deficits are associated with psychosocial problems at baseline, and how these predict psychosocial functioning at 12 months follow-up. Also, we tested whether the effect of baseline psychopathology on psychosocial functioning decreases between baseline and 12 months and the effect of baseline cognition increases. Methods: Eight neurocognitive and four social cognitive subdomains and psychopathology (positive and negative symptoms, depression and anxiety) were assessed at baseline in 153 non-affective first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients. Psychosocial functioning (work/study, relationships, self-care, disturbing behavior and general psychosocial functioning) was assessed at baseline and 12 months. Spearman correlations were examined and backward regression models were computed to test our hypotheses. Results: At baseline, psychosocial functioning was associated strongest with positive and negative symptoms of all assessed clinical domains, followed by neurocognition and social cognition. In contrast, psychosocial functioning at 12 months was not predicted by psychotic symptoms, but rather by neurocognition, social cognition and depression. Change in social functioning in the first 12 months after baseline was predicted by positive and negative symptoms, but to a similar degree by neurocognition and social cognition. Conclusions: Whereas psychotic symptoms show marked impact on psychosocial functioning at illness onset, cognitive deficits appear to be more accurate longitudinal predictors of psychosocial problems and functional recovery in the early course of psychosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-119
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • First-episode psychosis
  • Social cognition
  • Neurocognition
  • Affect
  • Psychosocial functioning

Cite this